2012 tax increases repealed
Ryan Summerlin May 17, 2013
The controversial Municipal Fund and Service Area #6 taxes that were passed in December 2011 but halted by referendums before they could take effect, were repealed by the Summit County Council on Wednesday, May 16.
Had they not been repealed, the tax increases would have gone before voters for approval during a 2013 or 2014 election.
However, following the successful referendums last year, the County Council voted on another increase on the Municipal Fund and Service Area #6 taxes, in hopes that more effort in educating the public about the taxes would prevent another set of referendums.
"In my opinion, there would be no reason to keep the 2012 tax increase in place and go through the motions of putting it on the ballot, and going through that expense," Council Chair Claudia McMullin said.
The referendums followed the second Truth in Taxation hearing in August, which is mandated by state law.
The second hearing falls halfway through the year already budgeted by the county to include the revenue from the tax increases.
After McMullin made a comment about the county having "survived 2012," Councilmember Kim Carson noted that while the county did survive 2012, it came at a cost.
To make up for the lack of anticipated revenue, the county temporarily borrowed from the gas tax revenues, delayed road construction and left several open county positions unfilled, particularly in the Sheriff’s Department.
"We robbed Peter to pay Paul," she said.
McMullin reminded the council that even if the tax increases passed a ballot measure, the revenues would not be retroactive.
"Even if it passed, it wouldn’t count for 2012. It’s over," she said.
The County Council won’t know until the end of the year if its 2013 tax increases will be challenged.
The council is working with the Utah Association of Counties to try to have the referendum or Truth in Taxation laws adjusted to avoid the long wait between a referendum and putting the measure on a ballot.