The Stansbury Service Agency approved an intent to raise property taxes a maximum of 23 percent during its meeting Wednesday night.
The maximum increase would generate an additional $223,578.15 in revenue, to be used for parks, greenbelt and lake maintenance. For residents with a $250,000 home, the maximum increase would be a total of $64.10, split evenly between the Recreation Service and Greenbelt Service taxes.
The service agency board will need to hold two public hearings prior to approving any tax increase. During Wednesday’s meeting, the board capped the possible property tax increase at 23 percent, but can approve any amount at or below that percentage.
In 2018, the service agency budgeted $930,272 in property tax revenue toward its $1.1 million budget. The service agency completes its budget on the calendar year cycle, with the final approval in December. The tax increase would affect the budget, and taxpayers, in 2019.
During the public comment portion of the meeting, resident Trent Ladle recommended the board use smaller tax increases, to avoid a situation like Tooele City, which approved an 88-percent property tax increase this year.
Board chairman Neil Smart said the service agency hasn’t raised taxes in a decade and the service agency could have considered a higher tax increase cap, but didn’t think it was prudent.
Trustee Mike Johnson said it is procedurally cumbersome to increase taxes and would personally prefer to take the increase at once.
“I think the public doesn’t realize that our budget is really only about $1 million,” Johnson said. “We’ve got a lot of stuff to take care of for that.”
“Just being fiscally responsible is all I think myself and the citizens ask,” Ladle said.
Resident Ward Johnson echoed Ladle’s point and said taxpayers have faced a number of tax increases this year on the state and local level.
“I just ask that you be prudent, too,” Johnson said. “It sounds like you are, because I’ve seen a lot of things you guys are starting to do this year and I think that’s good.”
Smart said the service agency hasn’t run over budget during his time on the board, though he described it as a “shoestring budget.”
“There is a really big possibility that we have to pick up another responsibility of … taking back the golf course and managing that,” he said. “To us, that’s one of the gems in the community and if the golf course is nice, then that does nothing but help every one of our home’s values go up.”
The service agency owns the golf course but leased it to a private operator. In 2018, the service agency set aside $95,000 for golf course improvements in its capital improvements fund budget.
Smart also said the service agency maintains sports fields and other amenities that are used by people living outside its boundaries, especially through youth sports. The service agency does not have the authority to expand its own boundaries to capture more tax revenue, Johnson said.
The board voted 4-0 to set the tax increase cap at 23 percent, on a motion by Johnson, seconded by trustee Cassandra Arnell. Trustees Brenda Spearman and Glenn Oscarson were absent.