Utah County Commission votes to reduce property taxes

An increase approved in 2019 is cut almost in half.

(Rick Egan | The Salt Lake Tribune) Commissioner Bill Lee speaks during a rally protesting against masks being required in schools, before the Utah County Commission meeting in Provo, on Wednesday, July 15, 2020. Lee and the other members of the Utah County Commission voted Wednesday, June 30, 2021, to reduce property taxes.

The Utah County Commission voted this week to reduce property taxes, walking back a decision to raise taxes made in 2019.

Previous members of the commission voted 2-1, with current chairman Bill Lee opposed, to raise taxes in 2019. It was the first property tax increase in the county in 23 years. The money was intended to better fund services such as criminal prosecutions and elections. The commissioners that supported the tax in 2019 are no longer on the council.

The current commissioners, Lee, Amelia Powers Gardner and Tom Sakievich, unanimously voted to reduce the tax on Wednesday.

According to a news release, the difference between what Utah County would have collected this year had it kept the 2020 tax rate in place ($48,218,502) versus what it will collect with the new rate ($38,617,473) is $9,601,029, a reduction of 49.7% to the $19,312,205 increase approved in 2019.

“Utah County taxpayers have waited 18 months to see a meaningful reduction to the excessive tax increase approved in December 2019,” said Lee in the news release. “I have strongly advocated reducing that tax increase from the moment it was approved, and I am thrilled that today we essentially cut it in half. Commissioner Sakievich and Commissioner Gardner, both of whom ran on reducing the 2019 tax, should be commended for joining with me to provide this relief to the people of Utah County.”

He said the county is on track to maintain annual surpluses for the next decade because of its budgeting plan. He said the county will still be able to fund capital improvement projects and hire new employees.