Public offers suggestions and advice on proposed property tax increase

Clayton Housley, a resident of Smithfield, addresses the Cache County Council on Tuesday, Nov. 26 as they discuss a property tax increase

LOGAN – Cache County property owners will see an increase in their property taxes in 2020 to cover the cost of the yearly budget. Just how much is still being determined.

If the proposed budget is approved, Cache County would increase its property tax budgeted revenue by 10.06% above last year’s property tax budgeted revenue, excluding eligible new growth. That means the average homeowner could be paying an additional $26.16 per year.

During a special council meeting and public hearing Tuesday night, Council Chair Karl Ward explained the reason behind the property tax increase. The bottom line – home values are up in the valley and that means the amount of taxes you pay also goes up.

“The state legislature requires we call it a tax increase even though we don’t change the mill levy percentage on the taxes,” explained Ward.

A mill levy is a property tax that is based on the assessed value of a property. One mill is one dollar per $1,000 dollars of assessed value.

“A tax increase occurs because dollars go up as a result of changes in market values of properties. When market value of someone’s property goes up, the amount of tax they pay goes up and this is considered a tax increase. The council is not anticipating or considering raising the mill levy on property taxes,” he clarified.

It is possible, according to Ward, council members could lower the mill levy. That would result in less revenue coming into the budget and adjustments would have to be made. Residents weighed in on that option and asked council members to consider cutting costs.

“I would encourage all of you to review and consider going to the 8% or even lower than that,” said Chris Booth. “I believe there are lots of ways we could cut some costs and cut some wasteful spending. I’m not going to point fingers, I’m not going to name names, but I see a lot of county workers standing around doing a whole lot of nothing while a project is going on.”

Earlier in the public hearing, Ward talked about cost cutting.

“If the (revenue) comes down, the cost of services has to go down,” he said. “We really look carefully with a lot of angst over what should and should not be done. Don’t look at us as the enemy, but look at us as people trying to do our best to try and provide the services to the citizens of the county at the best price we can possibly do it.”

Clayton Housley, from Smithfield, was curious where the additional revenue from the property taxes will be spent.

“I’m interested in hearing if you have a plan for the additional money that you’re going to collect,” he said. “I’m interested in the details of what that plan is – where the money is going.”

Housley was told the additional revenue will be used to account for inflation across the board and was encouraged to take a look at the proposed budget.

“The role of government is essentially county roads, public safety, salaries and health benefits for employees,” stated Council member Paul Borup. “I think we are providing that base level of service. I don’t think we are going overboard and doing a whole lot else other than providing for the public safety and welfare.”

“I’m tired of giving all that money. I don’t have any more to give,” said Michael Morgan.

John, who didn’t give his last name, said “When does it end? When is the top, because my money is getting tight?”

After listening to residents’ suggestions and concerns, council members said they would consider lowering the tax increase. The exact amount has yet to be decided. The council will have a discussion and vote on the budget before the end of the year.

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  • Joe schmoe November 27, 2019 at 7:42 pm Reply

    Please no more property tax increases, renting from county at these rates is not sustainable or affordable!!

  • Bruce November 27, 2019 at 11:28 pm Reply

    It seems to always be true that well-meaning politicians and administrators find positive things to do with taxpayers’ money. When the prices of houses go up, the amount collected by governments automatically increases and administrators and politicians find ways to spend the money. When the prices of houses goes down, taxes are increased to pay for the programs that were funded during the fat years.

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