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Summit County Manager's Letter Starts Process To Consider Tax Increase

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The Summit County Council, meeting Wednesday, is scheduled to receive a letter from County Manager Tom Fisher, asking if council members want to consider tax increases for the next budget year. 

The council, meeting at the Richins Services Building and also on Zoom, is scheduled to review the letter from Fisher at about 5 p.m.

The council has set a policy of considering tax increases every five years, rather than be faced with proposing more substantial tax hikes less frequently.

Deputy County Manager Janna Young said the manager’s letter, a Notice of Intent, begins the Truth in Taxation process. Truth in Taxation is a process established by the Utah State Legislature where city and county governments and school districts are required to hold public hearings and inform taxpayers of increases before voting on them.       

“In Utah, counties are guaranteed to collect the same amount in property tax revenues each year despite the performance of the economy, either up or down.  The only way we can collect more property tax revenue is if there’s new growth, such as a new housing commercial development coming on line.  But we cannot capture inflation.  On the other hand, we also don’t lose any property tax revenues if there’s a recession.  And so this makes property taxes the most reliable and stable revenue source that the county collects.   So if we want to take advantage of inflation, or increased property tax revenues at all, outside of new growth, a public taxing entity must go through this process called Truth in Taxation.”

Fisher’s letter is proposing an increase in the county’s General Fund of 9 percent, yielding $1.5 million; and an increase in the Assessing and Collecting Fund of 14.5 percent, or $500,000. There would also be an increase for Service Area #6, which provides municipal services to subdivisions in the unincorporated county.    That would be over 28 percent, or $300,000.

Summit County Finance Officer Matt Leavitt  said that tax increases to the county’s general fund and assessing and collecting fund would affect all homeowners, and together would result in a property tax increase of $40-$45 for a primary residence valued at $715,000. The increase to service area 6 would result in a tax increase of about $30 for a primary residence of that value in subdivisions including Jeremy Ranch and Pinebrook.         

Young said that the council members could turn down a tax increase.    They might favor increasing or decreasing a tax hike.    Or they might consider tax increases for other priorities.     

“They have talked about wanting to raise additional revenue for things like this resilience fund that I mentioned earlier, or the solid waste fee, as you mentioned, some monies into search and rescue and some other things like that, maybe EMS.  So we’ll have to have that conversation with the council, and then if they do decide that, we’ll have to come back, most likely around October 13th, when the county manager presents his budget for the 2022 fiscal year to the council, we’ll have to include those increases.”

Deputy County Manager Janna Young, who said the council’s budget hearing for 2022 is set for December 15th.

 

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