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Tax hikes » This year, 42 local governments raised property taxes, compared to 23 last year — with many saying they tried to avoid tax hikes during the recession, but pressing needs forced them to relent now. That means about one of every 11 local governments that charge a property tax raised them this year. A complete list of those increases is online at sltrib.com.
The largest increase was by Tooele County, a $109.52 hike on a $225,000 home, up 68.6 percent. The county’s financial crisis was brought on by the closing of Deseret Chemical Depot and drastic reductions in waste-mitigation fees. That has prompted deep staff and service cuts, including cancelling the county fair and closing the swimming pool at the Deseret Peak recreation complex.
Big differences in property tax
Utah’s highest » In a slice of Salt Lake City around 7200 West and 2100 South, $2,458 on a $225,000 home
Utah’s lowest » In unincorporated Wayne County, $700 on a $225,000 home
Difference » $1,758
Median property tax bill » $1,671 on a $225,000 home
Woodland Hills in Utah County had the second-highest hike, $108.65 on a $225,000 home. City Recorder Jody Stones said the city is taking on some significant projects, including developing a new well and replacing Woodland Hills Drive, the main artery in the city, along with other road projects. She said the city wanted to take advantage of the low current cost of borrowing by bonding.
Political pressure — during what is an election year for cities — led several to abandon or ratchet down earlier proposed tax hikes after required Truth in Taxation hearings in August. Local governments must advertise and hold such public hearings any time they propose a property tax revenue increase.
Among cities that abandoned tax-hike plans were Enoch in Iron County; Pleasant Grove; Provo; and Uintah in Weber County.
Enoch had even proposed the largest tax increase in the state — $297 on a $225,000 home, a 113 percent increase, as city officials had argued that they had been using savings in recent years to provide services and needed their first tax increase in memory.
Santaquin had proposed the state’s second-largest tax increase at $229 on a $225,000 home, a 100 percent increase. After its Truth in Taxation hearing, the city settled on a $68.68 increase, up 30 percent. The city has said it needs the increase to maintain and repair roads.
Taxes in largest cities » State Tax Commission data also allows comparing taxes among cities. Even though taxes can vary greatly within individual cities because of crisscrossing boundaries of local service districts, large sections of those cities often tend to have the same tax rates. The Tribune compared taxes among such typical areas for the state’s 15 largest cities.
The most expensive typical areas in those largest cities are: Ogden, $2,192 on a $225,000 home; West Valley City, $2,132; Salt Lake City, $2,063; Taylorsville, $1,979; and Draper, $1,883.
The lowest taxes among the 15 largest cities are: Provo, $1,454 on a $225,000 home; St. George, $1,515; Orem, $1,524; Logan, $1,567; and Murray, $1,592.
Taxes among the middle group of the largest cities include: Sandy, $1,841; Layton, $1,833; South Jordan, $1,831; West Jordan, $1,797; and Bountiful, $1,687.
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