December 30, 2019
For the first time in more than two decades, Utah County will raise its property taxes. This Utah property tax change was voted into the latest budget, and will include a 67.4% hike on just the county portion of property tax. The increase will add up to more than $19 million, and make the 2020 budget for the county nearly $104 million. The average home in Utah County is valued at $334,000, and will see its taxes go up approximately $83 per year. A number of residents have already spoken out against the rise of their property taxes, and they’ve urged limits on government spending, instead.
The tax hike was still approved, but the commissioners did agree that they would take another look at the decision in June of 2020. There may be other ways for the county to get some additional revenue, which could reduce or eliminate the hike. With many tax increases proposed by a number of different entities, citizens in the county argue that they’re already being taxed to their limit and cannot afford to see their property taxes continue to rise. Reducing government spending is being suggested by many residents of the county, as an alternative to increased taxation levels.
There will be a limit to the amount taxes can be raised, and at some point, it will not be possible to raise taxes again. At that point, the spending will have to come down, instead. County commissioners have said the tax hikes are still necessary, along with cuts to spending. That will help Utah County become more sustainable, and give it a good future. Tax rates decreased in the county in the past, and the current argument is that this irresponsibility on the part of past officials has to be addressed. A tax hike is how this is being done, in order to bring the county into alignment for where it “should be” with its tax levels.
Utah County hasn’t raised its property taxes since 1996, and is near the bottom in the state for collected revenue. It’s the second-most populous county, though, and there are concerns that the low level of taxes collected means that it’s not sustainable for the county to continue the way it is. There has been new revenue growth in the county in recent years, but inflation has also risen. The balance isn’t one that’s helping the county, and that causes problems for the programs that are in place to help people in that location. With more property tax revenue, government programs can continue to operate and help those in need.
But the amount residents are being asked to spend for their property taxes may be excessive, and a smaller adjustment could have given the county a starting point without upsetting so many of its residents. Originally, the property tax increase was going to be 100 percent, which was lowered to 69 percent later, and eventually to 67.4 percent. Commissioners made some budget cuts and reduced government spending to bring the percentage of the tax hike down to that level.