Opinion

Windfall for the county means a sadder-but-wiser landowner

PBRS Every now and then King County sends out a press release on the merits of applying for property tax reductions under the county's Public Benefit Rating System (PBRS), including that printed in the 12-18-95 Woodinville Weekly.
   There is a major inaccuracy in that press release, plus an important omission.
   The omission is that the interest rate is not stated on program pull-outs. That interest rate is the so-called "delinquent tax" rate of 12 percent.
   The inaccuracy lies in the statement that "After the initial 10-year period, the 20% penalty is dropped." The 20% penalty is due ANY time the owner is unable to give written notice two years in advance of pull-out.
   If there is an emergency requiring a quick property sale to a buyer wishing to discontinue the open space classification, the 20% penalty becomes due along with seven years' back-tax differential plus 12 percent interest.
   All of which makes a marvelous windfall for the county and a sadder-but-wiser landowner.

Maxine Keesling, Woodinville