West Jordan city calling for inflationary tax increaseAug 16, 2021 10:45AM ● By Erin Dixon
By Erin Dixon | [email protected]
On Aug. 24, West Jordan City will host a truth-in-taxation. This is a state mandated meeting that city leaders must hold if they want to adjust their property tax income.
The potential adjustment in West Jordan has been discussed in city council meetings since last December.
At that time, Councilmember Zach Jacob explained that a small increase in a truth in taxation meeting equals maintenance for the city and residents, not a higher cost to property owners.
“The state law is to lower your taxes every year by default,” Jacob said. “We have to lower it every year unless we raise it. Every year the property value goes up, the property tax rate goes down. It’s putting the brakes on the car going down the hill.”
State law says that a city will receive the same amount of property taxes each year, even if property values go up, unless the city holds a truth-in-taxation meeting.
This year, West Jordan leaders are considering a 2.5% inflationary property tax rate. Of that 2.5% change, residents will only pay 45%. Commercial property owners pay the full amount.
This change in tax rate would bring $585,000 more to the city.
Finance Director Danyce Steck outlined where that money would go if the rate is approved.
Of that, $250,000 would go to the information technology management fund. “The first 130,000 of that will purchase the agenda management software and the rest will go to beef up reserves,” Steck said. “What we’re finding is IT costs are increasing pretty quickly. [W]e purchased so much stuff during the pandemic with CARES act money. In three years, [that] is going to make a huge cost increase because we’re going to need to replace it.
The Risk Fund would get $100,000, and $10,000 would go to recruit a new risk manager.
“Ninety-thousand dollars [would go] into reserves,” Steck said. “The stronger our reserves are, the more we are able to find discounts in insurance premiums. It takes money to make money.”
The fleet fund that purchases police vehicles would get $277,000. “We [will] hold it in reserves for next year when we’re going to be purchasing quite a few police vehicle replacements, like 89,” Steck said.
The police department would get $65,000 to recruit new officers. “They are paying for new recruits out of the SLCC and UVU program that are going through training,” Steck said. “This would pay for 10 of those recruits.”
Another $100,000 would provide marketing and public outreach. “The council is interested in reaching out to our residents on a more regular basis for reporting, transparency, noticing, events and other things to let them know what we are doing for them,” Steck said. “We’re not doing a whole lot of that right now.”
The marketing money would be further divided for specific department communication. “A lot of that outreach has to do with utilities; 25% of outreach is allocated to utilities,” Steck said. “Seventy-five thousand dollars to the general fund for things like information on a landfill, a transfer station, informational.”
The last $50,000 would go to the events budget. “Our event staff is stretched too thin but not thin enough to gain another employee,” Steck said. The money would pay for outsourced help.
The Aug. 24 meeting is open to the public and will have time for resident comments.