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Is your city, county raising property taxes? 40 are
Local property tax » Proposed boosts range from hundreds more to just a few dollars extra.
First Published Jul 25 2014 02:39 pm • Last Updated Jul 28 2014 12:19 pm

Property valuation notices arriving this week contain some pricey news for many Utahns: 40 local governments are seeking tax hikes.

That is slightly less than the 42 that raised them last year, but double the number that had boosted them in 2012.

At a glance

Some of the biggest boosts:

» Rockville, Washington County: up 130.8 percent, or $220.77 on a $215,000 home.

» Castle Valley, Grand County: up 100.4 percent, or $133.98 on a $215,000 home.

» Logan School District: up 12.1 percent, or $109.26 on a $215,000 home.

» Kaysville, up 99.6 percent, or $107.73 on a $215,000 home.

» Tooele County Municipal-Type Service Fund, a new tax of $101.10 on a $215,000 home.

More online

To see a breakdown of all 40 proposed local-government tax hikes, go to sltrib.com.

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During the Great Recession and its aftermath, many governments tried to hold down tax increases. That may be over now, judging from the past two years.

Utahns with the worst news are the 250 residents in tiny Rockville, Washington County, near Zion National Park.

That town is proposing a nearly 131 percent jump in its share of property taxes. On a $215,000 home, that amounts to an additional $220.77.

Other increases may not be felt much at all.

For example, West Valley City is bumping up its property taxes by 0.5 percent — or $2.37 on a $215,000 home.

Sometimes multiple, overlapping local governments in the same area are raising taxes at the same time, compounding residents’ pain.

For example in Logan, the Logan School District is proposing an increase of $109.26 on a $215,000 home; Logan City is calling for a $4.14 hike; and Cache County is seeking a $16.32 boost. The combined total increase would be nearly $130.

The governments proposing tax hikes — cities, counties, school districts, water districts, fire districts, law enforcement districts, mosquito-abatement districts and more — must hold "truth in taxation" hearings before the increases are final, giving residents another chance to protest. Hearing times are listed on valuation notices.

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Between Rockville and a hard place » About one of every 13 local governments in the state — 40 of roughly 520 — are proposing property tax hikes this year, according to data compiled by the Utah Tax Commission and analyzed by The Salt Lake Tribune.

"It’s nowhere near the historic high we have seen," said Royce Van Tassell, vice president of the business-backed Utah Taxpayers Association. "The most I have seen in a year was north of 90."

In recent years, the number had hovered around 20 as many governments and their constituents navigated tough economic waters.

Rockville — with the state’s highest proposed tax increase — is one community that said it could no longer afford to do that.

"The town has been operating with a budget shortfall for several years," Mayor Tracy Dutson explained, "and has been dipping into our reserves to help cover expenses."

He said the town had raised taxes only once previously since it incorporated in 1987. That was about 2008 to pay for police protection.

Town Council member Bernie Harris said money is especially needed for long-ignored road and bridge work. He said providing even bare necessities is not possible without more revenue.

"I don’t want to say it’s long past due. I hate to raise taxes on your neighbor. But in the same breath, when I have neighbors calling me and saying, ‘How come this isn’t being taken care of,’ it’s a matter of costs," Harris said. "If you don’t have money, you can’t do anything."

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