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Wasatch County plans next year’s budget; Truth in Taxation hearing in December

The 2024 budget draft includes a detailed breakdown of the Wasatch County general fund.
Wasatch County
The 2024 budget draft includes a detailed breakdown of the Wasatch County general fund.

A Wasatch County public tax hearing is coming up in December. Here's the latest 2024 budget information released ahead of the meeting.

County leaders say they’ve tried to minimize 2024 tax increases while adding small bumps for the library and parks and recreation. A Truth in Taxation hearing is open to the public to learn about the increases Dec. 6.

Assistant county manager Heber Lefgren says they originally planned a larger increase, which the county has reduced by getting creative to close the gaps.

“We went back and took a look at some of the funds and realized that we could use some of these other funds to offset some of the expenses of the general fund,” he said.

Revenue from the transient room tax will cover most of the cost of search and rescue, while the county’s communication equipment fund will pay for dispatch services.

As the county moves toward a vote on next year’s budget, manager Dustin Grabau says he wants residents to be informed about where their property tax dollars go.

While next year’s budget shows an increase of about $20 million, Grabau says that’s all due to new growth in the Heber Valley – the county doesn’t automatically collect additional tax revenue.

In fact, when property values go up, the overall tax rate actually goes down under Utah law.

“It ends up being a very delicate balancing act,” he said. “As those values shift, the balance of taxes shifts, but the amount that the entities collect doesn’t shift.”

About 70% of all property tax revenue goes to education – mostly local public schools. The county receives just over 13% of property tax dollars for its general fund and library.

In all, with money from property taxes, sale taxes and other revenue sources, Wasatch County’s budget is around $75 million for 2024, up from 2023’s budget of $55 million.