Summit County Council notified of intent to raise property taxes |

Summit County Council notified of intent to raise property taxes

Snyderville Basin Recreation District, North Summit Fire District seeking tax increases in 2023

Summit County Courthouse.
Park Record file photo

Snyderville Basin residents and those living on the East Side could see an increase in their property taxes next year, but it won’t be the result of higher property values.

The Summit County Council on Wednesday was notified by the Snyderville Basin Special Recreation District and the North Summit Fire District of the organizations’ intent to go through the truth-in-taxation process.

Under the proposals, property taxes in the Snyderville Basin would increase by $8.20 for every $100,000 of a primary residence’s taxable value, while residents of Eastern Summit County would see an increase of $140 for every $100,000 of a property’s taxable value. 

North Summit Fire District Chief Ben Nielson acknowledged it was a sharp increase — the owner of a primary residence valued at around $350,000 could pay $200 more in 2023 — but said it was necessary to provide adequate services on the East Side where fire service taxes haven’t been raised since 1997.

Voters in 2007 approved a maximum levy of .0014 for operations and maintenance that was to be implemented in 2008, but it never was. The current tax rate is .000318. The Fire District would receive an additional $1.5 million by increasing 2023 property taxes by around 431%.

“It’s nicer to do these in small chunks, in small bites,” Neilson said. “Unfortunately, with the Fire District, it’s not been that way. So it’s sad to say we have to take these drastic actions, but I think they’re necessary because of the situation we’re in.”

Nielson said the current budget is around $460,000 and the tax raise would increase it to around $2 million. He anticipates the funds will be used to address inadequacies in operations, equipment and facilities, which he said do not meet local needs or national fire service standards. 

The money could be used to hire full-time and part-time staff, improve equipment, including firefighters’ gear and the district’s fire trucks, and make upgrades to the fire stations in Coalville, Wanship and Henefer.

Two open houses were held in Coalville in mid-September to give residents the chance to learn about challenges and possible solutions, but Neilson said they weren’t as well attended as he would have liked. 

County Councilor Malena Stevens encouraged East Side residents to participate in public hearings about the Fire District’s 2023 budget and proposed tax rate. 

Dana Jones, the director of Basin Recreation, said the organization was seeking an increase for similar reasons. Basin Recreation intends to increase property taxes by 19.9%, or $1.3 million, to help fund additional positions, manage inflation, maintain assets and prepare for future capital investments. 

“We’re doing a 10-year master plan, a 5-year trail and open space plan, and a Silver Creek development plan … so we anticipate those plans and the public input that we’re going to get from them is really going to drive where we’re going for the next five to 10 years,” Jones said. 

In 2019, the last time Basin Recreation went through truth-in-taxation, it requested a 72% increase, or $2.3 million. The organization also committed to reviewing the need to go through the process every three to five years. Jones said the organization wants to build toward the future each year, rather than develop a plan once projects are finished.

Basin Recreation’s current operations and maintenance tax rate is .000412. The proposed increase would raise the tax rate to .000494, which is below the 1995 voter-approved maximum of .0006, according to a staff report.

Representatives from both Basin Recreation and the North Summit Fire District will appear at the Oct. 5 County Council meeting. Each organization will state its intent to increase property taxes, the dollar amount of the increase and its purpose and the approximate percentage increase. 

Additional notices will be sent to residents in October and November before public hearings are held in December. The County Council could adopt resolutions accepting the proposed tax increases and the 2023 budgets after the organizations’ public hearings.

Summit County

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