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Wasatch County seeks more time to appraise homes, balance assessment inequities

The Wasatch County Council chambers are in the Wasatch County Administration Building at 25 North Main Street in Heber City.
Ben Lasseter
The Wasatch County Council will hold a special meeting with the Utah Tax Commission in council chambers at the Wasatch County Administration Building, 25 North Main Street, Heber City.

The Wasatch County Council will hold a special meeting with the state next week to discuss fixing property-assessment inequities.

County council members said at last week’s council meeting they expected to receive many property assessment appeals.

Earlier this year, Wasatch County Assessor Todd Griffin told the council his office was working overtime to assess more properties than it does in a regular year. Griffin said when he took on the assessor’s role in 2021, the county had fallen behind on assessments, partly due to recent population growth.

Wasatch County Taxpayers Association representatives say that’s caused some to pay unfair shares of the property taxes the county collects.

The goal of playing catchup was to ensure more homes were fairly valued so everyone pays their fair share in taxes.

Everyone in the county pays the same property tax rate. So, properties that have been appraised more recently and are therefore likely to be valued higher require owners to pay more in taxes.

County Manager Dustin Grabau said the assessor’s office appraised many, but not all, properties that were overdue. He said about 5,000 properties are still overdue, though not all of their current values are believed to be “significantly outdated.”

But those who did get reassessed saw big jumps in values and tax notices, and weren’t happy that the increase wasn’t spread around more. Now, the county’s looking into new strategies to remedy that before the new taxing cycle begins in January.

The county council has scheduled a special meeting with the Utah Tax Commission Thursday to explore ways to address residents’ concerns.

“I think the general sense is that we can’t do enough to really fix the problem,” Grabau said at Wednesday’s council meeting. “That doesn’t mean there aren’t things that we can do to try and control what we can control at our level.”

Grabau said the meeting will explore whether the county can take more time this year to assess properties. If that’s possible, the county could send out new tax notices and push back deadlines for appeals and tax bills.

Griffin said he wasn’t yet certain how the state commission could assist the county.

Resident William Quapp spoke at the meeting and told the council based on state tax law, the state commission is complicit in allowing Wasatch County taxpayers to overpay by not intervening in past years.

“The state office is at fault for approving the situation that exists in Wasatch County,” Quapp said. “It's absolutely clear to me that they have not been doing their jobs.”

The special meeting’s at 2 p.m. Thursday at the Wasatch County Administration Building. Further details like whether the meeting would be broadcast online and a full agenda weren’t available at the time of this report.

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