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Wasatch County Council to take up property taxes, short-term rentals

The Wasatch County Council meets in the Wasatch County Administration Building at 25 North Main Street in Heber City.
Ben Lasseter
The Wasatch County Council meets in the Wasatch County Administration Building at 25 North Main Street in Heber City.

Conversations about residents’ property taxes and short-term rental homes are scheduled for this week’s Wasatch County Council meeting.

It’s a new year of property assessments and eventually, tax bills in counties across Utah. On Wednesday, the Wasatch County Council will talk about that process with state officials. According to County Assessor Todd Griffin, the office got behind on assessments in the late 2010s, causing inequities in tax bills.

Last year, Wasatch County residents complained that their property taxes as much as tripled since the year before.

In Utah, taxing entities collect fixed amounts of revenue each year. That means when homes go years without appraisal updates during a time of rising property values, more recently assessed homes get bigger tax bills.

Griffin reported major progress after a push last year to assess more properties and make taxpayers’ bills more equitable. He also said there’s more to do this year to accomplish that goal, and the county council asked to be involved in the process.

One of the Utah State Tax Commission’s duties in overseeing taxes statewide is to help local assessors keep people from paying more than their fair share in property taxes.

The council expects members of the Utah Tax Commission to join Wednesday’s meeting. The two groups plan to discuss ways to improve the appraisal process within Wasatch County.

In early January, the Utah State Auditor released a report referencing inconsistent property tax bills in Wasatch County in 2021 and 2022. The audit said the state tax commission failed in its duty to help the county assessor, as required by state law.

Also on Wednesday, the council will discuss how it regulates nightly rental properties, such as those listed on AirBnB and VRBO.

A staff report says no specific rules are up for changes yet. It says the council may discuss strategies to manage the increasingly popular and lucrative option for homeowners to rent their spaces to visitors in town.

The meeting’s at 4 p.m. Wednesday at the Wasatch County Administration Building, 25 North Main Street. The full agenda and a link to attend the meeting via Zoom are available at wasatch.utah.gov.