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Idea Of A Health Levy Raised With Summit County Council At Annual Retreat

courtesy of Summit County

The Summit County Council is being asked if they want to go to the public next year with a possible “health tax levy.”

The  idea was mentioned, among many other topics and goals, as the Council and  staff held  their annual Retreat Tuesday in Salt Lake.

County Health Director Rich Bullough said the proposal isn’t part of the budget being discussed now for 2020.    And he said the County Council hasn’t made a decision.

He said there is an option under state law to fund public health through a property tax levy.        

“Within 26-A, which is the document that governs us, state document, state rule, it allows us both the formation and the establishing a level of a levy.  And so really our intent is to have a public discussion about that.”

He said the maximum levy would be .0004 percent.

Bullough said during the Retreat, he reviewed for Council the fiscal need they’re facing.    

“Currently, we are asking the Council to contribute nearly a million dollars more to our general budget than the current mill levy, which is .000085 percent.    And so there’s a shortfall there.   And we’re asking in essence to have long-term resources to fund the public health programs that we provide.  We’re not able at this point in time to really continue to operate at the level that we currently operate on, let alone expand some of the programs that the community has asked us to expand.”

We asked Bullough if this would be a line-item on a resident’s tax bill.    

“Well, it would be within the General levy, but it would be identified specifically for uses in public health.  (Rick) Do we have any other items like that within the General levy now?  (Bullough) Yes, there are many.  In fact, I think Matt mentioned that there are upwards of 20 that are within the General levy.   So, yeah, it would be part of the General levy, but, again, its use would be specific to public health.    And when I talk about public health, I’m talking about all the services that we offer in the public health department, but also behavioral health.”

He said what happens next will be up to the County Council.        

“We’re gonna wait for their direction on whether or not they want us to put together more of a formal conversation, and then go from there.”

Summit County Health Director Rich Bullough

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