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Wasatch County taxpayers can expect to pay 24% more for water this year

The Wasatch County Council meets in the Wasatch County Administration Building at 25 North Main Street in Heber City.
Ben Lasseter
Wasatch County tax notices went out last week from the clerk's office in the county administration building.

Residents of Wasatch County received their tax notices over the past week, which included potential tax-rate increases.

Along with assessed values of their properties, Wasatch County taxpayers also learned the rates of taxes they’ll pay on them. But any tax rates that increase over last year’s aren’t official until after public hearings and official certifications occur.

The Central Utah Water Conservancy District is one entity proposing an increase.

The district covers 62% of all water users in Utah, including all of Wasatch County. Central Utah Water sells Provo River water rights to irrigation companies for local distribution.

This year, Central Utah Water wants to raise rates on all residences by 24%. For homes worth $730,000, that comes out to a $31 increase for the year, up to $161 from $130.

“About 58% of our budget is construction related,” said Central Utah Water Deputy General Manager Gerard Yates. “If you look at what's going on with construction, bid prices overall have increased by 20%. Diesel fuel is up 80%, steel products are up 40%, and lumber products are up 63%. So, just to continue to do business, that’s the reason why we need to increase taxes.”

He said another contributing factor is that property values are up. Wasatch County’s gross assessed property value went up 53% this year. Yates said the district’s other counties saw sharp rises, too.

Property tax revenue is estimated to generate about $100 million for the district. That’s about 30% of the total $265 million of expected revenue for the fiscal year that just began.

Wasatch County taxpayers’ contribution will make up about 1.5% of the district’s total revenue.

The water district will hold a public hearing about the proposed rate increase for Wasatch County residents. It’s happening August 22 at 6 p.m. at the Central Utah Water Conservancy District building, 1426 East 750 North in Orem.

Hideout also plans to raise its property tax rate by 28% for residences.

Hideout Administrator Jan McCosh says that’s also for rising costs and inflation impacting road construction. But more importantly, according to McCosh, the higher taxes are necessary to pay city employees more.

“We're very happy to have an awesome staff, a very talented group, and we want to keep those employees,” McCosh said. “So we've really enriched our benefit structure and program, and that was the main part of the increase in our taxes.”

Hideout will hold an online-only public hearing over the proposed increase August 11 at 6 p.m. For a link to the town’s YouTube channel, where it will be broadcast live, visit the web version of this report.

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