Friday, May 4, 2012

Taylorsville City 2012-2013 Budget Information


The proposed 2012-2013 budget includes a potential property tax increase of approximately $6.48 per month on a residential property with a value of $197,000. The reasons for the tax increase include:
  • The cost of our service contracts has increased because of inflation. Our contracts for fire, police, animal control, snow plow, and road maintenance service have gone up. 
  • Inflation on transportation costs have increased 16 percent with gasoline prices being the largest component.
  • Because of past decisions and the hesitancy to raise taxes in prior years, we have deferred maintenance on several projects and we cannot hold these projects off any longer.
  • Last year elected officials chose to use $800,000 from our fund balance (savings account), instead of raise taxes. Recurring expenses were funded with these one-time funds, such as two new police officers and funding for economic development. That has put us in a bind this year. 
  • We have budgeted money for performance-based wage increases to attract and retain strong city employees. Other employment costs have also increased.
  • To improve economic development, the city wants to be more aggressive in funding neighborhood revitalization and business incentives.
Living in Taylorsville is a bargain!
Recently, the Utah Taxpayers Association released a report that names Taylorsville as having the lowest cost of government per capita. We have the fifth lowest property tax rate out of 17 Salt Lake County municipal service entities. Three of the four with lower tax rates, Alta, Sandy, and Murray, have made significant investments in economic development over the past 20 years and are now seeing the monetary results of those investments, which gives them the ability to keep their taxes low. Even with this tax increase, we will still have one of the lowest tax rates in the state.
What is Economic Development and how do we keep taxes low?
A city’s greatest single source of revenue is sales tax received from businesses. The best way to keep property taxes low is to have a successful business base. Taylorsville has not been as proactive over the past 10 years in investing in economic development. That changed last year when the council passed a bond to fund economic development projects. We hope to continue this, so down the road sales tax revenue can take more of the burden off the residents.
What portion of my property tax bill goes to Taylorsville?
The only portion of your property tax that goes to the city is the Taylorsville municipal tax portion which is approximately 13.8 percent of your total property tax. That means this tax increase is equivalent to about 5.5 percent increase of your total property tax.
Is joining the Unified Police Department (UPD) part of this budget?
The proposed budget includes joining UPD. The administration feels strongly that we either need to fully fund our police force, or join UPD. Right now the anticipated savings to the city is $557,331 if we join UPD. We anticipate that it will be an increase in service for the city, as we will keep our same police officers but they will have access to more resources. 
The UPD model helps Taylorsville retain control of the law enforcement functions but helps us take advantage of “economies-of-scale.” UPD is an entity that pools services with several cities and unincorporated Salt Lake County. We already contract with UPD for dispatch, evidence, and records management. This budget proposes that we contract with UPD for all police services. (And, no, there is no “police fee.” That was a fee that Salt Lake County chose to charge their residents in the unincorporated areas and has nothing to do with UPD.)
In our recent Dan Jones poll, we found only 19 percent of Taylorsville residents opposed joining UPD. Over 53 percent were in favor, and 25 percent of residents were neutral on the issue.
What is NOT in the budget?
Although a tax increase is being proposed, many of the items in the 10-year Strategic Plan are not getting any funding this year. The budget is still very lean and conservative. The following items are NOT in the budget: 
Performing arts center, parks and trails, indoor swimming pool, an additional fire station, additional code enforcement officers, upgrade to the Taylorsville-Bennion Heritage Center, increased maintenance and upkeep of city property, continuation of Redwood Road beautification, additional landscaping at City Hall, expansion of the Senior Center, more landscaping along streets.
During the budget hearings, residents have the opportunity to share their vision for the city. If you would like to see something on this list included, contact your city council member or come speak at the meetings. 
Other Frequently Asked Questions:
When was our last Taylorsville tax increase? 
The last and only increase was in 2006.
Do we pay more in city tax than surrounding cities?
No, in fact you pay less than most of the cities in the state. There are a handful of cities that have lower taxes - Alta (thanks to revenue from ski resorts), Sandy and Murray (both of which have been investing in economic development for a long time). The Utah Taxpayer Report shows that Taylorsville is actually the least expensive city for taxpayers, per capita.
What happens if we don’t raise taxes this year?
For the past few years, we have been deferring maintenance projects. For instance, when you defer road maintenance, it ends up being more expensive down the road (no pun intended). It is much less expensive overall to do routine maintenance such as slurry seals and overlays than to completely rebuild a road. The administration feels like we cannot defer maintenance any longer, so services would need to be cut to stave off a tax increase. (Less law enforcement, decrease in snow plowing, decreased maintenance of parks and open space, etc.)
If I have more detailed questions on the budget, where should I go?
You can view the entire budget on our website at taylorsvilleut.gov. You can also call John Inch Morgan, city administrator, at 801-963-5400 or email him at jimorgan@taylorsvilleut.gov.
What do I do if I can’t afford my property taxes?
There are programs that you help you if you are having a hardship with paying your property tax. Contact the Salt Lake County Treasurer’s office at 385-468-8300 or treasurer.slco.org to see if you qualify for property tax relief.
Budget Calendar:
May 15 at 7 p.m. at City Hall - Budget Information Meeting - Residents are invited to come hear from the Mayor and department heads on the proposed budget. After a 30-45 minute presentation, residents can then ask individual questions to elected officials and staff in an open house format.
May 16 at 6 p.m. at City Hall - City Council Work Session - The council will be going through the budget. Residents have an opportunity to publicly speak.
May 23 at 6:30 p.m. at City Hall - City Council meeting - The council will continue to review the budget and residents can publicly give input.
May 30 from 6-7 p.m. at City Hall - Mayor’s Town Hall open house - Staff and elected officials will be available at an informal open house to discuss the budget or any other city issues. 
June 6 at 6:30 p.m. at City Hall - City Council meeting and Budget Public Hearing - Council will discuss the budget and it will be the official public hearing to receive input.
Sometime in August (to be determined) at City Hall - Truth-in-Taxation hearing
Additional meetings may be scheduled according to needs.

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