Taxes will be raised in 2012
December 20, 2011
Many Summit County residents will see an increase in their county tax notices in 2012. Last week, the Summit County Council approved increases in both the municipal tax rate and the levy for Service Area #6.
County Manager Bob Jasper pushed for both increases to help balance the General Fund and make sure the county was paying for specific services out of the appropriate funds. He said the intent is to have the citizens who are using the services pay for them.
Municipal taxes are paid by all Summit County residents except for those living in the incorporated area of Park City. A homeowner with a home valued at $500,000 will pay an additional $24 a year. The Municipal Tax rate has not been changed since 1977 when the fund was first created.
According to Derrick Radke, Summit County engineer, the Municipal Tax revenue go towards maintaining roads throughout the county. Even with the tax increase, which Radke estimates will bring in an additional $660,000 in revenue, the municipal fund will still operate at near-deficit levels.
"We usually spend an excess of $2 million from the Municipal Fund on road projects each year," Radke said, adding that in previous years, money from the county’s General Fund subsidized the road projects. "We need this increase simply to continue road maintenance. If we don’t do upkeep on the roads every few years then we will have to spend even more money to fix major problems that occur."
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Snyderville Basin resident Sue Pollard complained the County Council recently raised water fees as well and seems to be "nickel-and-dime-ing" its residents.
Councilmembers asked if they could transfer the surplus money they budgeted into their General Fund instead of raising taxes, but Jasper said that would only be a short-term fix and was placing too much weight on the economy improving in the next few years.
The Council voted four-to-one to approve the rate increase, with Councilmember Dave Ure saying he could not support the increase because it seemed like the Council was trying to "tax its way into prosperity."
"I know everyone has been doing their best and our budget is based on sound reasoning, but I think we should ask the engineering department to stretch its dollar just a little further instead of increasing taxes during tough times," Ure said. "The government is responsible for these roads that everyone is going to use, we can’t place the financial burden on just select residents."
Service Area #6 Tax
Service Area #6, which encompasses most of the neighborhoods in the Snyderville Basin and surrounding area, including Highland Estates, Silver Springs, Sun Peak, and Jeremy Ranch, will see an additional tax rate increase on top of the municipal tax.
The rate increase will pay for neighborhood road projects and is part of the Council’s effort to have residents who are using the services pay for them. The tax rate will increase by $24 on the average $500,000 home.
Councilmember Chris Robinson said that by increasing the tax rate for residents in the service area, it is ensuring that the Council "Is not robbing the future to pay for only a portion of the residents."
The Council voted unanimously to raise the tax rate for Service Area #6. Ure said that despite voting ‘no’ on the municipal tax increase, he thought this tax should be increased because the subdivisions within Service Area #6 are paying less for their roads than other neighborhoods.