Modest 10% Taylorsville property tax hike approved with no citizen oppositionJul 01, 2022 11:26AM ● By Carl Fauver
These pickleball courts in Millrace Park have been resurfaced and repainted to now run north-south to keep the sun out of players’ eyes. The new city budget includes funding for two additional pickleball courts at Taylorsville Park as well. (Carl Fauver/City Journals)
By Carl Fauver | [email protected]
Taylorsville High School will be safer… Taylorsville-Bennion Heritage Center will be sturdier… Taylorsville Senior Center will be more weatherproof… city employees will receive a pay increase… city streets will be better illuminated… and Taylorsville pickle ball players will have more places to enjoy their sport… all as part of the just-approved 2022-23 Taylorsville City fiscal year budget – which also includes residents’ first property tax increase in nine years.
“No one likes paying more taxes and elected officials don’t like raising them – but we knew we had to do something this year,” Mayor Kristie Overson said. “With inflation and rising gas prices, we could not put it off another year. Most cities (across the Salt Lake Valley) are talking about tax increases this year. What we are asking for is not for fluff. It’s for basic services: gas, oil, construction, labor.”
Back in 2013, the city council raised taxes 29.5%. But the very next year they cut those taxes significantly. This time around, the approved tax increase is a much more modest 10%.
“We expect this tax increase to generate an additional $340,000 to $370,000 for the new budget,” Taylorsville Chief Financial Officer Scott Harrington explained. “Home owners with an assessed value of $340,000 will have tax increases of $15.44. If your assessed home value is higher, say $462,000, the tax hike will be $21. That’s for the entire year – not monthly increases.”
City Council members unanimously approved the modest tax hike during their June 1 meeting. Just before the vote, Council Chair Anna Barbieri opened a public comment period on the proposal. Two residents did speak briefly during the hearing – but no one lodged any complaints about it.
“The tax increase only amounts to about $1.50 per month, per household – so I didn’t think people would turn out to complain about it,” Barbieri said. “Taylorsville City runs lean. But I am all about providing safety and quality infrastructure. We also have to maintain key personnel, which means raising salaries so we don’t lose people. I feel good about the 10% increase.”
Among the notable changes in the 2022-23 Taylorsville City budget:
· Taylorsville City employees will receive 7% raises: With only about 50 employees for a city of 60,000 residents, Taylorsville has one of the lowest employee-to-resident ratios in the state. Typically, they have received 2-3% raises. This will be their largest raise in at least 15 years.
· A second police resource officer will be assigned to Taylorsville High School: The just-ended school year at THS was the first to include four grades, growing the student population to more than 2,800. A second resource officer dedicated to the school is intended to make students safer. City officials are negotiating with the Granite School District to see if it will pay part of the salary, as it does for the first resource officer.
· Taylorsville-Bennion Heritage Center receives $40,000: Built in 1906, the old farmhouse that houses the heritage center is in constant need of often expensive structural repairs. This $40,000 will be combined with $30,000 the City Council earmarked for major repairs a year ago, allowing crews to make significant improvements.
· New Taylorsville Senior Center roof: At an estimated cost of $100,000, this will be the facility’s first new roof since it was built 20 years ago.
· Street light replacement and repair will be accelerated: Many city street lights are so old they cannot be repaired and require replacement. City crews are now assessing and prioritizing lighting needs in neighborhoods and at dark intersections.
· New pickleball courts will be constructed at Taylorsville Park: A firm timeline for this project has not been established, but City Council members remain committed to the project and are continuing planning work for two new courts.
The entire 44-page 2022-23 municipal budget is posted on the Taylorsville City website (taylorsvilleut.gov). Type “city budget” into the home page “search” box (upper right) for the quickest route to it.
The most unexpected thing you will see on page one of the budget is under “total revenues.” Despite the 10% tax hike, overall Taylorsville City revenues have dropped from $34,148,477 in the last fiscal year to $26,632,339 in the new year. But there’s a simple explanation: Uncle Sam is done doling out pandemic cash.
The American Rescue Plan Act funding approved by President Biden in March of last year guaranteed direct relief to cities and towns across the United States. Large chunks of that money were used to upgrade Taylorsville City Hall and to boost pandemic supplies and response budgets. But that “gravy train” has stopped rolling, nationwide.
Another bit of disquieting news: Taylorsville homeowners should not expect it to be another nine years before the next property tax increase, as it was this time.
“After that 29.5% tax increase in 2013 upset residents so much, city council members agreed smaller, but more frequent increases might be the better route to take,” Harrington explained. “We were able to go nine years without an increase this time. But if inflation continues – or other financial issues arise – I can’t rule out another tax hike in maybe two or three years.”
City Council Vice Chair Meredith Harker is among the elected officials who hopes that won’t be necessary. But if it is, she believes the council has established a track record with homeowners and voters that will make future tax hikes bearable.
“We are lean and mean in Taylorsville and I believe our residents know that,” Harker said. “We make sure every dollar counts. We are fiscally responsible and very careful about the budget. We have a citizen Budget Committee to review all the numbers also. But with inflation and costs constantly going up, if we don’t (raise tax revenues occasionally) it will start to cut into our services. I’m confident people understand that.”