Tooele Transcript Bulletin – News in Tooele, Utah

June 29, 2022
School board adopts budget with tax increase

But final tax rate won’t come until after Truth in Taxation 

Three out of the four Tooele County School members present for their 2022-2023 budget hearing on June 21 voted to adopt a budget with a property tax increase.

But they weren’t certain how much of an increase, if any, they will finally adopt.

The school board’s decision sends them into the state’s Truth in Taxation process with required public notices and a public hearing to explain their need for more revenue and to listen to taxpayers before they vote on a final property tax rate and budget in August.

For now, the school board adopted a budget that calls for enough of a property tax increase to raise an additional $160 per year over what the certified rate would collect from the owner of the average $460,000 home in Tooele County.

Board member Alan Mouritsen looked left and right across the school board meeting table at some empty seats and said he would really like to hear from all of the board before he votes on a tax increase.

“I think we all need to be here for this,” he said.

Pushing the final decision off until August would do that.

Board member Julia Holt agreed it would be nice to have the whole board at the meeting when they adopt a tax rate. 

“We may need some of that additional revenue with our growth and to cover inflation,” she said.

Although exactly how much, she wasn’t prepared to say.

Board member Scott Bryan sounded like he was ready to approve a budget with no tax increase. He had another proposal for covering the cost of a new junior high school when and if additional revenue is needed.

Up until this point, the rationale for a tax increase has been to offset the shortfall for the school district’s building fund caused by the rapid increase in building costs.

The proposed budget is balanced without a tax increase. Under the certified tax rate the school district will bring in around $3 million more in property tax than the previous year. This increase in revenue is unallocated and could be set aside for future building costs, Bryan said.

The proposed increase would generate a total of about $5.2 million in unallocated revenue.

If and when the district needs more funds for building a new junior high school, Bryan said he would prefer using a municipal building authority bond which would expire when it is paid off. 

Increasing the general property tax rate is an increase that never goes away, instead it sets the base permanently at a higher level, he said.

After the school district’s business administrator explained that by adopting the budget with a tax increase during the budget hearing meeting on June 21 the school board would get a second stab at setting the tax rate and budget after the Truth in Taxation public hearing. 

The board can drop the increase or adopt any rate up to the proposed rate that will generate the extra $160 from the average home, he said.

Julia Holt, Alan Mourtisen and ValRee Shields voted for the budget with a tax increase. Scott Bryan voted against the budget with the tax increase.

 

Tim Gillie

Editor at Tooele Transcript Bulletin
Tim has been writing for the Transcript Bulletin since October 2017. In February 2019 he was named as editor. In addition to being editor, Tim continues to write about Tooele County government, education, business, real estate, housing, politics and the state Legislature.A native of Washington state and a graduate of Central Washington University, Tim became a journalist after a 20 year career with the Boy Scouts of America.

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