What Is the 2022 Financial Sustainability Advisory Committee? What Was Its Recommendation Regarding Proposition One?
The Quick Answer
The 2022 FSAC was a small volunteer committee of Shoreline residents (13 people) that considered information provided by City Staff about a proposed Levy Lid Lift for the November 2022 ballot.
Notably, the committee did not come to an agreement on what Levy Rate to recommend for Proposition One. Committee members expressed concerns about affordability and encouraged the City to set the Levy Rate as low as possible while still supporting City services.
Background of FSAC
The City of Shoreline requested volunteers to serve on a 2022 Financial Sustainability Advisory Committee (FSAC) about a levy lid lift. The City Manager then selected 13 Shoreline residents, from those who applied, to be on this committee.
The City Staff presented information to the FSAC members during six meetings held in March-May 2022 about City services and the City Staff’s desire to place a Levy Lid Lift on the ballot in November 2022. The FSAC volunteers were then asked for their recommendations about a Levy Lid Lift.
The City Staff drafted a report entitled “May 25, 2022 City of Shoreline/Levy Lid Lift Committee Report”. The City Staff asked the FSAC members to review the drafted report and suggest edits and/or concur with its content.
The final FSAC report was submitted to the City Manager and was also included as an attachment at the Shoreline City Council meeting on June 13, 2022.
Some points from the FSAC report dated May 25, 2022:
The FSAC (volunteer citizens) recommended a Levy Lid Lift but did not make a group recommendation as to what Shoreline’s dollar rate for a 2022 Levy Lid Lift should be.
FSAC members expressed concerns about the City Staff’s desire for expanding services and increasing Shoreline city taxes because:
Shoreline residents are facing higher property assessments and inflation.
Shoreline residents may struggle to afford to stay in Shoreline with higher city property taxes, including renters as well as homeowners.
The waiver/deferral programs for taxes for certain seniors, persons with disabilities, and disabled veterans are limited and may only delay the requirement to pay taxes when the home is sold.
FSAC members recommended that the City should use the surplus of $8.491 million dollars that it had at the end of 2021 towards its budget to set a low Levy Rate.
The FSAC report1 notes:
The Committee expressed concern about homeowners with fixed incomes or others who may struggle to afford to stay in (or move to) Shoreline. For example, if property owners pass the cost onto renters and rents increase, it could lessen affordability. While programs exist to support certain property owners with either tax relief or deferral (waiver with lien on property), lack of awareness of the programs could lead some voters to reject a levy lid lift initiative. It was also noted that increases in assessed value often trail increases in property values and an economic downturn and/or continued impacts from the pandemic could make a levy lid lift feel less affordable to many residents.
Committee members also shared concerns about adding to the tax burden given inflation, the recently passed 2022 school levies and parks bond, and increasing property taxes. Concerns are related to levy fatigue and a household’s ability to pay.
The full report of the FSAC is available as an attachment to Agenda Item 8(b) on the Levy Lid Lift for the June 13, 2022 City Council meeting. The FSAC recommendations start on page 20.↩