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School board may raise taxes

Dale Thompson, Of the Record staff

In a meeting earlier this week the Park City School Board voted to recommend a property tax increase.

The board reported a $2 million deficit in early June in the proposed budget for the 2006-2007 fiscal year. At the time, school board member Vern Christensen reported that school district expenditures increased by 9 percent while revenues have only gone up by 7 percent.

The deficit was covered by using money from what Christensen refers to as the district’s "rainy day" fund also known as the undesignated fund. During the 2005-2006 fiscal year $2.6 million was available in that fund which would be drained to $583,000 without the tax increase.

According to the proposed certified tax rate increase, district revenue on property tax for 2006-2007 would increase from $31.4 million, collected in 2005-2006 to $37.7 million.

The current 2006-2007 certified tax rate is 0.004799 while the proposed tax rate is 0.005212.

For home and business owners this means the following:

Should the increase go into effect the tax on a $430,000 home will be raised from $1,134.96 to $1,232.64 which amounts to and additional $97.67 per year.

Tax on a secondary homes and businesses of the same value will be raised from $2,063.57 to $2,241.16 which amounts to $177.59 more per year.

"This is a rate that is lower than a lot of districts, it’s because the value of homes here is so high," said district Business Administrator Patty Murphy.

In the meeting Murphy presented the board with five possible options, among them a scenario where the district did not raise taxes and plunged further into debt.

The board voted unanimously, with members Kim Carson and Lisa Kirchenheiter absent, to proceed with the plan outlined above.

Kathryn Adair raised one concern saying it was important to take into consideration the number of people who pay taxes to support the school district but don’t have children attending school. She used seniors living on fixed incomes as an example.

School board president David Chaplin said in the past the undesignated fund has taken care of itself but now the board needs to start taking care of it.

"The community can expect some significant changes if we don’t," Chaplin said.

Murphy agreed.

""The decisions we make today will drive the future," Murphy said.

A truth in taxation hearing to take citizen input on the proposed tax increase will be held on August 15 at 6 p.m at the Park City School District Office on 2700 Kearns Blvd. The public is welcome to attend.


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