In harmony with Utah’s Truth in Taxation policy, the Carbon County Commission spent ample time discussing a proposal to increase property tax revenue within the county during Wednesday’s meeting, eventually moving to accept a proposal to increase tax revenue.
Amounts of $450,000 for the general fund and $12,000 to the municipal services fund, which affects properties in unincorporated areas in the county, was presented by Carbon County Clerk Seth Oveson as a possible increase.
“The proposed purpose of the property tax increase is to provide existing services in face of decreasing revenues within the county,” Oveson said.
Decreasing mineral moneys, according to Carbon County Commissioner Casey Hopes, continue to take their toll on areas with a similar decrease across a five-year span of nearly 6.5 million dollars
“There are several other counties, most of the counties that are heavily affected by mineral production, that have in the last year have seen 70% increases in different levys. This levy, this increase, we’ve gone through a lot of work to try to be cognizant of the situation of the different property owners but also knowing that you can’t defer maintenance on roads, culverts, things like that that keep coming up and the funding that is available to the county to provide those services has decreased along with mineral production over the last several years,” Oveson said.
Oveson also clearly specified how the raise will not affect the public’s total property tax bill, but only the tax levy associated with the Carbon County General or Municipal Services fund, which is dependent on a home’s location in an incorporated or unincorporated area.
Opting in the past to not approve a 27% increase, the commission agreed to establish a limit of tax increases by approximately 9.29% with a raise of 9% for those who own homes in incorporated areas in hopes of decreasing negative impacts from the raise. The amounts, which also give the commission the ability to accept an amount lower than that but nothing over, are being considered for the 2017 budget.
Parcel-specific, individualized mailers will be sent to the public with tax notices on Oct. 17. The mailers will explain the current levy, the proposed levy as well as the resulting change for landowners.
Since 2011, an all-time high for the County, the operating budgets of Carbon County has decreased by approximately 7 million dollars in an attempt to steer clear of increasing property taxes, according to Commissioner Hopes.
“We’ve worked for years when I came into office trying to take care of things and be responsible stewards and it’s very difficult to maintain the level of service that everyone’s accustomed to without any new type of tax revenue,” Oveson said, mentioning also how the tax rate is not adjusted on a yearly basis to take into account inflation.
As the first step of the raising of the tax, it was made clear that a public hearing will be hosted on the second commission meeting in December, scheduled for the 21, where public may attend to express comments as well as concerns.