Tax increase on the table in Taylorsville
Now it's Taylorsville's turn.
Last year, many residents were furious when the West Valley City Council imposed an 18 percent property tax increase to balance its fiscal 2012 budget and provide needed services. Some threatened to vote out of office the members who cast yes votes for the assessment.
This year, Taylorsville Mayor Russ Wall has proposed a 36 percent hike in the city's portion of property taxes to cover a $1.5 million shortfall in the fiscal 2013 budget. The bump, he insists, will determine whether the west-side suburb becomes a first-class city or "a city we wouldn't want to live in."
A vote on the tax will take place sometime in June, after council members have studied the proposal and constituents have had their say at a public hearing.
Wall recommended a total budget of about $22.3 million: $21,460,705 million in the general fund (an increase of $30,761 from the previous year), $200,000 for capital improvement and $660,700 for debt service.
The budget also includes the mayor's proposal to contract for law enforcement services with the Unified Police Department (UPD), a move estimated to save the city $721,033 in the 2012-2013 budget year that begins July 1. The 60 police officers now employed by Taylorsville would retain their positions under UPD.
The tax increase projected to raise nearly $1.5 million would add $5.83 a month, or $69.96 a year, to Taylorsville's assessment on a residence valued at $197,000, the average price of a home in the west-side suburb of 60,000. The current city property tax on a home of that price is now $16.97 a month, or $203.64.
"That's a stiff increase," Councilman Larry Johnson said after the mayor presented his proposed budget on May 2. "It's going to hurt because things are tight out there."
But Wall said Taylorsville could no longer defer upkeep on streets, sewers and other utilities.
He said the city is in a bind after using $800,000 last year to hire two additional police officers, to repair streets and to fund economic development activities. Because that money came from savings, ongoing expenses have to be made up through tax revenue, he said. A proposal last year by Wall for a $25 to $50 annual property tax increase was blocked by three of the five City Council members.
The last property tax increase by the city was in 2006. Taylorsville's property tax is about 14 percent of the total bill; the rest is assessed by other entities.
No tax increase is requested this year in neighboring West Valley City. Administrators of the state's second-largest city have proposed a total budget of about $100 million, with a general fund portion of $64.6 million, which is an increase of $1 million over the fiscal 2012 amount.
The fiscal 2012 tax hike, which was estimated to bring $3.5 million to West Valley's coffers, was approved 6-1 last year. (Mayor Mike Winder was the dissenter). The threat by some angry constituents to unseat any council member who voted for the increase never materialized: Corey Rushton, the only incumbent on the ballot, retained his seat.
Public meetings on city budget
Taylorsville will hold informational meetings and take public comment in coming weeks on its tentative budget for fiscal 2013.
Mayor Russ Wall and city department heads will make a budget presentation and answer questions at meetings scheduled for 7 p.m. Tuesday, May 15, and 6 p.m. May 30. Residents can hear more discussion about the budget and comment on it at City Council meetings at 6 p.m. Wednesday, May 9, and 6:30 p.m. Wednesday, May 16, and at a June 6 public hearing that begins at 6:30 p.m. All of these events will take place at City Hall, 2600 W. Taylorsville Boulevard (5325 South).
Details on the proposed budget are at http://1.usa.gov/KPSFKS.
West Valley City's proposed budget can be viewed at http://1.usa.gov/LaUPHC. The City Council will hold a public hearing at 6:30 p.m. Aug. 14 at 3600 S. Constitution Blvd. (2700 West) before adopting a final version.