The Washington County Water Conservancy District is increasing property taxes for 2019. Taxes buy us civilization, but sources of special district income can be opaque, and the most opaque is property tax. Unlike water use charges, it doesn’t encourage conservation and disproportionately affects the poor.
WCWCD’s budgets, philosophies and plans are not on the Utah Transparency website. It’s clear these officials want to provide as much water as anyone wants, and they hope the state of Utah will subsidize as much of the costs as possible. To make that case, the 2019 budget forecasts an impressive $200 million stockpile of, basically, cash.
The philosophy is to bill taxpayers now for a Lake Powell Pipeline project, expected to cost almost $2 billion and not built for decades, ignoring that there won’t be sufficient water in Lake Powell by then.
Capital projects benefiting future populations should be paid for by bonding, with repayment coming from those who reap the benefits. WCWCD, wanting others in the state to pay for its water and reluctant to charge real costs for water use, is playing politics by amassing property taxes to promote a project that is dead in the water. Not a good plan.
Bryan Dixon, St. George