Over one-third of the revenues dedicated to county roads are generated from local property taxes. Property taxes are levied for many state and local purposes and are arranged in a complex hierarchy. The basic limits of the senior county levies are up to $1.80 per $1,000 assessed valuation for general government (current expense) and up to $2.25 per $1,000 assessed valuation for roads. The sum of the two senior county levies cannot exceed $4.05 per $1,000 assessed valuation. The authority to levy property tax is codified in RCW 84.52.043; the road fund levy is specifically expanded upon in RCW 36.82.040.
Two fundamental constraints define the bounds of property taxes in general:
Not only are property taxes a substantial a portion of the county's road fund revenues, they are generally distributed in two lump sums (April and November) which requires proactive cash management (revenue and expenditure forecasting).
The two most common methods utilized by counties to legally "redirect" a portion of the road levy include a "diversion" (specific use of a portion of the road levy for other unincorporated area service) and a"levy shift" (reduction in the maximum road levy and a corresponding increase in the current expense levy).
Additional information pertaining to the road levy, diversion, and levy shifts are available by downloading the following .pdf documents: