'Donut hole' shields neighbors from ST3 taxes

KING 5

With Sound Transit's complaint box filling up fast thanks to angry taxpayers feeling the sting of the recent ST3 tax hike, one neighborhood in King County is finding themselves in a rare tax-free loophole.

Or, as the county Assessor's Office calls is a 'donut hole.'

About 20 properties on the border of Renton and King County around the intersection of 163rd Avenue SE and SE 135th Street are on an island of land, not considered within Sound Transit's taxing district.

"We love it!" said Butch Trudeau, who is well aware he's one of the lucky ones.

In November, voters approved doubling Sound Transit taxes to pay for transportation improvements. The taxing district covers urban areas of Snohomish, King, and Pierce counties.

Sound Transit estimates the average median household pays an additional $365 per year in addition to the large increase in the cost of car tabs.

Richard Allen just renewed his car tabs and estimated his good fortune saved him around $300 this month alone.

"We are basically are our own little county, he said. "We love it! We want more donuts!"

The 'donut hole' anomaly was created as years of annexation slowly boxed these families in.

Dating from the early 1990's the original Regional Transit Authority (RTA) boundary was based on the boundaries of more than 50 cities in the Central Puget Sound region and their designated urban growth areas. In 2010, state laws on annexation changed after the passage of Substitute Senate Bill 6271. Following the passage of this legislation, when cities inside the RTA annex new areas, these areas now automatically become part of the RTA.

Before this legislation passed, the neighborhood was outside the RTA. Then after further annexation, surrounding homes part of the RTA and left the non-RTA 'donut hole' neighborhood enclosed on all four sides.

The county assessor's office says it appears there are currently no plans to include the neighborhood in the ST3 taxing district.

© 2017 KING-TV


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