School board approves tax increase |

School board approves tax increase

Alexandria Gonzalez , The Park Record

In a unanimous vote, the Park City Board of Education on Tuesday approved a $3 million budget increase for the 2014-15 school year. Those opposed to the decision felt money could be found within the budget or generated without increasing taxes for residents of the district.

PCSD business administrator Todd Hauber said the $3 million is needed to fund an increase in student enrollment as well as increases to teacher salaries. In October, the district saw an increase of 209 students, and enrollment is expected to increase by another 110 this next school year. The board proposed increasing the staff by over eight full-time teachers to help reduce increasing class sizes.

According to Hauber, the average per-pupil expenditure in the district is $10,100 per student. While the Utah State Legislature recently increased the Weighted Pupil Unit by 2.5 percent to $2,972, that still leaves about $7,000 for the district to raise per student to maintain current education services.

The approximately 200-student increase plus the increase of 110 expected in October will cost the district about $2.2 million, and the additional teachers will cost nearly $876,000. The increase in taxes will generate the $3 million to cover the new costs.

The board voted unanimously to approve an increase of the board local levy while also decreasing the basic, debt service, voted local and capital local levies.

Hauber said a property owner with a primary residence valued at $500,000 will pay an extra $18 due to a judgment levy, which will enable the district to refund over $750,000 to taxpayers for a tax appeal awarded by the State Tax Commission. Additionally, the board local levy will represent about a $73 increase. However, a decrease in all other tax rates will shave off about $60, making the net impact on taxes about $12 more than residents paid this year.

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For example, Park City School Property Taxes on a primary residence valued at $500,000 for 2013 were $422 for the basic school levy, $413 for the voted local levy, $79 for the debt service levy, $119 for the capital local levy and $240 for the consolidated levy.

In 2014, those numbers will change to $406 for the basic school levy, $380 for the voted local levy, $77 for the debt service levy, $110 for the capital local levy, $294 for the consolidated levy and $18 for the judgment levy. This means the school district portion of a property owner’s tax bill will increase from $1,273 to $1,285.

Julie Eihausen expressed concerns over the board’s decision to increase the board local levy just two years after the first increase.

"We just had an over $4 million increase two years ago, so that will come out to a $7 million increase over the span of just three years," she said. "Perhaps we should stop making agreements and compensations and contracts we don’t have the funds for and then worry about our obligations at the end of the year."

At the end of the budget hearing, school board Vice President Michael Boyle made a motion to adopt the proposed tax rates, seconded by Nancy Garrison. The tax rate changes were approved unanimously. The school district will be required to hold a Truth-In-Taxation hearing in August. The tentative date is Tuesday, August 19, at 6:30 p.m. before the tax hike is official.