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Summit County Council to hold property tax hearing next week amid community concern

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Summit County, Utah
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A public hearing about property taxes will be held at the Richins Building in Kimball Junction on Wednesday, August 10, at 5 p.m.

Property owners are reaching out to Summit County officials about an increase in property taxes resulting from rising market value - and they’re not happy.

Summit County Interim Manager Janna Young said the plan is to hold a briefing about property tax notices next week and allow for public comment. The county’s assessor, auditor, and treasurer will be on hand to discuss the assessment process and why many residents are seeing their taxes go up.

Summit County Assessor Stephanie Poll said at the Wednesday county council meeting that while the typical schedule for assessments is every five years, sometimes adjustments are needed more frequently.

“There is the five-year detail review cycle, however, the state does mandate on our January sales ratio study that we’re within 5% of the market analysis that’s done," Poll said. "So we have to factor many times, especially in this kind of market, outside of the detail review area.”

The median price of a single-family home in the Park City Board of Realtors market area, which includes Summit and Wasatch counties, is up 57% since the fourth quarter of pre-COVID 2019.

Summit County Councilmember Glenn Wright told KPCW that one way to avoid big jumps in tax bills is to assess more often - which brings its own costs.

“One solution that has been suggested to us by some of the people who came to us last night is - assess every year," Wright said. "We could do that. If people wanted to make that proposal, they need to come to a Truth in Taxation hearing for the county in November, and say we want our taxes to go up for assessing and collecting. Cause we need to hire probably triple the number of assessors.”

John Snyder, who lives on Chalk Creek Road near Coalville, told the council that the taxable value on his home has nearly tripled since 2017.

“And I guess I should be tickled that my house is worth a lot more money," Snyder said. "But to me, it doesn’t help me, that it’s worth more money if I’m never going to sell it.”

Chalk Creek lies in a separate taxing district from Coalville. Wright said it’s seeing a particularly high tax increase due to rising utility costs there.

John’s wife Christi Snyder told the council that the tax increase comes at a particularly rough time, as inflation hits people nationwide.

“Me and my husband buy bread from Sam’s Club, we get two loaves," she said. "Three months ago, it was $4 for those two loaves. Now it’s over $7. Our gas has over doubled since February.”

The Board of Equalization will consider appeals on property values through September 15. Citizens who believe they may have been assessed incorrectly are encouraged to go through that process.

The board will not consider appeals on tax rate changes.

The county council will meet Wednesday, August 10, at 5 p.m. at the Richins Building in Kimball Junction to discuss property taxes and hold a public hearing. People can attend and comment virtually; a Zoom link to the meeting will be made available beforehand.

Appeals can be made online, and information can be found here.

Parker Malatesta covers Park City for KPCW. Before coming to NPR, he spent one year as a general assignment reporter for TownLift in Park City. He previously was the news editor at The News Record, the student paper at the University of Cincinnati. He loves running, reading, and urban planning.
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