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Ogden resident Joe Bauman addresses Ogden City Council during a hearing on the city’s proposed 2023 budget and tax hike July 12, 2022. Another hearing is scheduled for Tuesday August 2 2022.
Tim Vandenack, Standard Examiner
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This notice from the Weber County Clerk/Auditor’s Office website outlines scheduled hearing dates for Truth in Taxation for entities proposing property tax increases. They run from August 2 to 23, 2022.
Image courtesy Weber County Clerk/Auditor’s Office
OGDEN – With several property tax hikes underway, the last chance for many to speak out is fast approaching.
Leaders in Ogden, Harrisville and other localities have already held public meetings on proposed tax increases for 2023 as they work out their spending plans for the year, but the latest public hearings on the issue for these two cities are scheduled for next week. Likewise, formal hearings into the truth of taxation related to proposed increases in the Weber School District, South Ogden and the Weber Basin Water Conservation District are also set.
First, here are the dates, times and locations of the hearings:
Ogden: 6:00 p.m. Tuesday in the Ogden City Council Chambers inside the Municipal Building, 2549 Washington Blvd.
Harrisville: 6 p.m. Tuesday at the Harrisville Municipal Building, 363 W. Independence Blvd.
South Ogden: 6 p.m. Tuesday at the South Ogden Municipal Building, 3950 S. Adams Ave.
Weber School District: 7 p.m. Wednesday at District Headquarters, 5320 S. Adams Ave. Parkway, Washington Terrace.
Weber Basin Water Conservation District: 6:30 p.m. Thursday at District Offices, 315 E. 2550 North in Layton.
Now some details about what’s going on:
Ogden: The initial 2023 spending plan, the focus of a July 12 hearing, calls for an 18.83% hike in property taxes to $19.3 million. This represents an increase from the $15.8 million for 2022 and the $16.3 million the city would be able to collect for 2023 without a tax increase, taking into account new property tax revenues induced by the growth.
Now the city council is also considering an alternative to raise taxes by just 16.82%, according to the briefing package for next Tuesday’s meeting. “The board has stipulated that any adjustments to the budget could not impact increases in employee salaries and benefits, which are a priority for the board,” the package reads.
The increase is aimed at boosting employee wages and benefits and would also help hire additional workers, including five new police officers and six firefighters.
The wage increases proposed behind the property tax hike are 14% for firefighters, 13% for general city employees and 8% for police. Elected officials were due to get a 13% raise, per the original budget proposal, but now city officials are moving away from that. Instead, two salary proposals will be considered for the mayor and members of the city council – a 4% salary increase or no salary increase.
City Council approved a rule change on July 12 giving them leeway to set their pay separate from other workers, paving the way for alternative pay proposals. Some civil servants were apparently uncomfortable with giving themselves 13% salary increases.
Ogden’s increase as originally proposed, if approved, would raise municipal property taxes on a home worth $410,000, the median value, by $82.53, from $437.47 $ to $520.
Harrisville: City officials are proposing a hike of up to 166% in property taxes, from the $354,030 that would qualify without a tax hearing to $941,570. It would be the city’s first tax hike since 2013, if approved.
The growth of the city and the resulting increase in demand for municipal services are included in the proposed increase. “Now, with nine proposed developments and a significant increase in the number of households, both single-family and mixed-use developments, there is a need for additional staff and resources to maintain services through public safety, utilities, facilities, road maintenance and repair,” reads a city-prepared website on the proposal.
If approved, taxes on a home worth $420,000, the median value in Harrisville, would rise from $130.28 to $346.50.
South Ogden: The proposed hike in South Ogden would increase property tax collections for 2023 to $4.18 million, up $345,251 or 9% from the $3.83 million the city would otherwise be in able to collect, according to data from the Weber County Clerk-Auditor’s Office.
Mayor Russell Porter noted that modest tax hikes by municipal authorities in recent years have ruled out the need for a large hike, as proposed in other localities. He said city council members may even reduce the proposed hike.
“A lot of it is just trying to keep up with inflation, especially the price of fuel,” he said.
The South Ogden increase, if fully implemented, would raise taxes on a home worth $451,000, the median value, from $547.94 to $597.30.
Weber School District: The district’s proposal, as originally presented, calls for a 13.7% increase in taxes, from $70.15 million to $79.76 million.
The increase is intended to help raise the salaries of teachers and staff. The hike would raise taxes on a home worth $526,000, the median value, from $1,073.59 to $1,206.67, up $133.08. The Ogden School District is also proposing a raise to raise teachers’ salaries and it will hold a hearing on August 18.
Weber Basin Water Conservation District: The Water District, which operates in five northern Utah counties, is offering a total of $17 million in property tax recovery in its coverage area, up from $10.6 million for 2022, an increase of about 60%.
According to Scott Paxman, district general manager, the increased revenue is needed to help continue bond payments to the federal government for construction of the district’s extensive water system in the 1950s and 1960s and for efforts to Upgrade.
“Hundreds of millions of dollars” in rehabilitation work are needed throughout the system, and upgrade work “will continue for a long time,” Paxman said.
In Weber County, the tax hike would raise taxes on a home worth $490,000, the median value, from $27.76 to $45.01, up $17.25.
The tax hike would apply to all homeowners in Weber, Davis and Morgan counties, most homeowners in Summit County and a smaller portion of homeowners in Box Elder County. These are the five counties where the district operates.
Other entities proposing tax hikes in Weber County are North Ogden, Riverdale, Roy and the North View Fire District. Tax truth hearings for their proposed increases will take place later in August.