County ups two tax rates |
Sarah Moffitt, The Park Record

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County ups two tax rates

Despite a flurry of last-minute public input, the Summit County Council moved forward Wednesday night with plans to raise the Municipal and Service Area #6 tax rates, the final vote before residents see the increase on their property taxes in November.

The County Council first decided to raise taxes in December when they prepared the 2012 budget. The Council said they were paying to maintain roads and provide services for certain residents out of the General Fund instead of having neighborhoods pay for that themselves.

Every homeowner in unincorporated Summit County will see an increase in their municipal tax rate, an average increase of $24 on a $500,000 home.

Residents living in Service Area #6, which encompasses the Snyderville Basin and surrounding area, including Highland Estates, Silver Springs, Sun Peak, and Jeremy Ranch will see an increase of $24 on a $500,000 home.

The Municipal and Service Area funds pay for road maintenance and standard upkeep such as snow removal and pot-hole repair.

About 50 people attended the public hearing and offered varied comments, ranging from "no new taxes" to "I want my road fixed and this is the only way to do it."

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Summit County Auditor Blake Frazier said that despite the large turnout, there was no persuasive argument against the increase.

"The tax increases will have a big impact and make it so we can catch up and stay up-to-date on road projects without depleting our general funds," he said. "Both of these taxes have never been raised and the cost of doing the work has really gone up. The Service Area #6 fund was first enacted in 1977 and hasn’t been touched since."

The Auditor’s Office estimated that the increase in Service Area #6 will bring in $960,000 a year in revenue to the county. The increase in the Municipal tax rate is estimated to generate $3.1 million in revenue, an increase of $660,000 compared to 2011.

Frazier said the Council never made a formal motion to raise the taxes on Wednesday and may need to hold one more meeting regarding the increases in order to make it official.

"There was a mixed consensus on whether they already made the formal motion to raise them and this was just a mandatory hearing or if they need to make the motion one more time," he said. "But all the Council members have signified they will vote for the tax increases except for Dave Ure."

Frazier said he doesn’t think this is the only tax increase Summit County residents will see in the next couple of years.

"There is a need for more increases," he said. "We have never had a General Fund tax increase and at one point, it is going to be necessary unless the economy picks back up or we begin to grow again. It is hard to maintain services without some new dollars."