SOUTH JORDAN, Utah — Salt Lake County Auditor Chris Harding prepares to send property tax notices to residents.
But some may come with a small shock sticker. Throughout Salt Lake County, various tax entities are proposing tax increases that will affect people based on the value of their home.
“We have 23. That’s kind of a record,” the listener said in a recent interview with FOX 13 News.
Some are offered this year. More were added in the 2021 calendar year, Harding said.
Depending on where people live, they can face several different property tax hikes. For example, Salt Lake City offers an increase of $89.34 per year on a home worth $576,000. But on top of that there is an annual tax increase of $12.67 proposed by the school district and a tax increase of $23.44 by the library board (which operates separately as a taxing entity) . Then there’s the Central Utah Water Conservancy District, which supplies water to much of the state and is asking for a raise of $24.07 a year on a home worth $561,000.
In southern Jordan, the city is offering a raise of $48.67 a year on a $500,000 house; Jordan School District seeks $253.65 raise for $586,000 home; the Jordan Valley Water Conservancy District charges about $7 a year for a house worth $604,000; and then there’s the request from the Central Utah Water Conservancy District.
“The main thing is to maintain the services that our residents have made so clear and that are important to them? We have no choice but to ask for a little more tax,” said South Jordan Mayor , Dawn Ramsey.
Mayor Ramsey, who is also president of the League of Cities and Towns of Utah, said a number of cities in the state are being forced to raise taxes due to inflation, rising costs and growth needs. Some communities, fearing backlash from residents, have avoided raising taxes for decades.
“It’s actually been over 20 years since we asked for this type of increase,” Mayor Ramsey said of his city, adding that past tax increases have been project-specific.
Inflation is the main reason Salt Lake County is seeing so much, Harding said.
“Inflation is up. We just got through it with COVID, people are going back to work, back to school, having fun,” he said. “It costs money to run city governments, fight fires and pave roads.”
Utah’s Central Water Conservation District said it has big plans coming up and supply costs have risen dramatically.
“Diesel fuel up 80%. Lumber up 63%. Asphalt and petroleum products up 50%,” said KC Shaw, deputy district manager. “We see that overall our costs have increased by 20% and to continue to provide these facilities and create new ones, we need to increase taxes.”
Legally, each tax entity must hold what is called a “Truth in Taxes” hearing. These will take place from August. To help explain why tax increases are needed, South Jordan City posted videos on social media and created a special website to answer questions. Mayor Ramsey told FOX 13 News she thinks residents understand the need.
“We want good quality roads, we want to make sure we have access to recreation, we want to make sure that when we call 911 the police or the fire department are there,” she said. “I think most of us feel that. I know the locals, the majority of southern Jordan feel that.”
The Utah Taxpayers Association, a tax watchdog group, has warned cities against raising taxes too much.
“Cities should only seek to trigger tax truth hearings every 5-8 years to claw back inflation. Taxpayers should be wary of those who constantly raise them or use the current inflation situation. to justify a big increase. The government should do what individuals and businesses are doing now – be forced to do more with less and make adjustments for essential needs,” said Rusty Cannon, chairman of the group.
Shaw said he believed their proposed tax increase would buy some needed improvements to the water infrastructure.
“For example, not far from here we have a pipeline that supplies about two-thirds of the state of Utah that is at risk of geohazards, landslides and earthquakes, that needs to be moved and replaced. It’s a $40 million project.” he told FOX 13 News.
Mayor Ramsey said residents have so far responded surprisingly positively to the proposed tax hike – once they were told what it was for. South Jordan City annually polls residents on what priorities they want to fund. Recently, residents called for increased funding for public safety.
“And I say surprising in that no one ever wants to pay more taxes, do they?” she says. “But it was to meet the needs that they said were their priority and for the most part people understood that.”
See the proposed tax increases here: