Tuesday, May 14, 2013

Taylorsville City Budget Details

The proposed fiscal year 2013-2014 budget includes a potential property tax increase of approximately $9.34 per month for the average home (a residential property with a value of $197,000). This is an increase of approximately 47 percent. The property tax increase is needed because of increasing costs and the fact that ongoing expenses have been partially funded from our fund balance (savings account). Further impacting this situation is the decline of sales tax revenues that began with the recession. These revenues remain close to 2006 levels, even though inflation has continued to increase during this time period.
The primary reasons for the tax increase:
Operating Budget
Even though the operating budget is only increasing 4.2 percent over the previous year, the majority of the tax increase funds current operations that were paid for in the 2012-2013 budget from the city’s fund balance (savings account). Our fund balance is now down to 10.9 percent and can no longer be relied upon to fund ongoing expenses. (10.9 percent of upcoming year’s anticipated revenues.) Maintaining a reasonable fund balance is critical to our city’s bond rating and for future emergency expenses.
Deferred Maintenance
With declining revenues, elected officials chose to defer significant maintenance to keep expenses low over the past few years. Upkeep and maintenance on items like our roads and critical infrastructure can no longer be deferred without tremendous future expense.
Public Safety Increases
Our Unified Fire Authority contract increased 5 percent over last year. Our Unified Police Department contract increased 2.9 percent over last year. We still continue to see hundreds of thousands of dollars in savings by contracting our public safety to these two entities, over providing our own services. Public safety alone accounts for approximately 50 percent of our overall city budget.
Neighborhood Investment
Keeping neighborhoods looking nice improves property values, keeps crime down, encourages good families to live here, and improves quality of life. Here are some of the additional items included in this year’s proposed budget to help neighborhood revitalization: road maintenance, additional neighborhood clean ups, sidewalk repairs, an additional code enforcement officer, and up to two additional police officers (pending award of a COP grant).
Enhanced Services
The proposed budget also includes funds for electronic business plan submittal software, an annual resident survey, additional maintenance at city parks and the bass fishing pond, and municipal elections this fall. These items were not in last year’s budget.
Where is Taylorsville’s tax rate in relation to other cities?
We have the fifth lowest property tax rate out of the 14 neighboring cities. Most of the cities with a lower tax rate have made significant investments in economic development over the past 20 years and are now seeing the results of those investments, which gives them the ability to keep their taxes low. If the current tax increase is approved, and none of the other cities raise taxes this year, we would have the ninth lowest property tax rate out of the 14 cities. In an effort to control costs, Taylorsville has one of the lowest number of employees/contractors per capita in the state.

What is Economic Development and how do we keep taxes low?
Sales tax revenue is our greatest single source of revenue. The best way to keep property taxes low is to have a successful business base in Taylorsville. In the past 10 years our city has not been actively investing in economic development, but in recent years the city has been looking for ways to attract quality businesses to the city. Having well-maintained streetscapes, parks, and neighborhoods helps to attract businesses and families. It is also helpful when residents keep tax dollars in the city by shopping in Taylorsville!
Other Frequently Asked Questions:
When was our last Taylorsville tax increase?
Last year there was a 15 percent tax increase, which resulted in an additional $2.43 per month for a $197,000 home. The only other tax increase in city history was in 2006.
Do we pay more in city tax than surrounding cities?
We have the fifth lowest property tax rate out of the 14 neighboring cities. Please see the chart on the opposite page to see the rankings.
What happens if we don’t raise taxes this year?
If there is no tax increase this year, the budget would need to be cut $2.3 million. This would mean a reduction to essential services (public safety, snow plowing, public works, etc.). Residents have expressed their desire to have a progressive city that is continually investing in itself. If new items in this year’s budget are removed, elected officials fear that we start down a path of deterioration. A city that attracts families and businesses will have a greater potential for quality of life and a stable tax base. Even if all new items were removed from the budget, in addition to some personnel, there would still not be sufficient revenues in the budget. Again, essential services would need to be cut.
What do I do if I can’t afford my property taxes?

There are programs that can help if you have 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.
What portion of my property tax bill goes to Taylorsville?
Only one line item on your property tax bill goes to Taylorsville City, which is approximately 16.46 percent of your total property tax. That means this proposed tax increase is equivalent to a 6 percent overall increase to your property tax.
What is NOT included in this budget?
Although a tax increase is being proposed, many of the items in the 10-year Strategic Plan, developed by residents, advisory committees, staff and elected officials, are not getting any funding this year. The budget is still very lean and conservative. The following items are not in this budget: Redwood Road landscaping, indoor swimming pool at the Rec Center, walls on main corridors, additional parks, Jordan River trail upgrades, bike lanes, additional firefighters, and a new fire station.
If I have more detailed questions on the budget, where should I go?
You can view the entire budget on our website. You can also call John Inch Morgan, City Administrator, at 801-963-5400 or email him at jimorgan@taylorsvilleut.gov.
Attend these public meetings to give input and become informed about the budget.

Wednesday, May 29 from 6-7 p.m.
Town Hall Open House at City Hall
Elected officials and staff will be available at an informal open house to discuss the budget or any other city issues.

Wednesday, June 5 at 6:30 p.m.

City Council Meeting and Budget Public Hearing at City Hall
The council will discuss the budget. This will be the official public hearing to receive input on the proposed budget.

Wednesday, June 12 at 6:00 p.m.

City Council Work Session at City Hall
The council will discuss the budget and citizen comment will be taken after the discussion.

Wednesday, June 19 at 6:30 p.m.

City Council Meeting at City Hall
The council will discuss the budget and citizen comment will be taken after the discussion.
(Per state statute, the budget must be passed by June 22)

August (specific date to be determined) Truth-in-Taxation hearing.
Additional meetings may be scheduled as needed

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