Carbon County Commission Seeks Public Involvement in Taxes and Bigger Government

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The Carbon County Commission had an eventful, nearly three hour meeting Wednesday. Usual business was conducted including recognitions, requests for funding, permission for policy changes, land issues and discussion about reform. An item that received a significant amount of attention was a proposed additional sales tax.

The tax increase will only take place at the approval of the citizens of the county. The commissioners discussed the pros and cons of putting the tax on the ballot for the approval of Carbon County citizens. The proposed tax is complicated, but it will add support to maintain rural county roads by adding .0025 per dollar tax on general goods, excluding food.

Commissioners stressed that they would like groups to discuss the proposed tax and communicate their feelings on the matter. Jae Potter recommended that groups communicate their opinions and concerns to any of the commissioners via phone, email or letter. The next item that received special attention was expansion of existing county government.

Jake Mellor gave a presentation about special service districts (SSD). These government entities have the power to tax, among other powers, to keep themselves running. An example of a special service district would be a municipal airport, which would fall under a transportation SSD. Other districts are public safety, mineral leasing, water resources and any entity defined in the state code, which could be one of eighteen different types (see Utah State Code 17D-1-201).

Mellor proposed only to start a discussion about four new SSD. He expressed concern that there aren’t enough people to address the issues put before the county and to find funding to help the community.

“The purpose of these new districts would not be to govern but to promote community involvement, to find other monies other than those the county already receives,” said Mellor.

Because of the meeting’s length, discussion on Mellor’s proposal was postponed.

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