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Friday, August 8, 2008
Good News: The Increase Is Decreasing

The American Fork City Council whittled 5.9 percent off its proposed property tax increase at yesterday's work session.

Maybe I'm an optimist, but We the People appear to have the attention of the Mayor and City Council of American Fork. In fact -- forgive the thought -- this seems to be true to a degree unjustified by the quality of most comments at Tuesday's Truth-in-Taxation hearing. Admittedly, our elected officials have had a lot of public input outside the hearing, too.

Here are three numbers I've reported before:

  • Last year's certified tax rate was 0.002213.
  • This year's certified tax rate is 0.002071.
  • The proposed increase is to 0.002527 -- about 14.2 percent over last year, or 22 percent over this year's CTR.

Here's the number that came out of yesterday afternoon's City Council work session: 0.002396. That's an 8.3 percent increase over last year, and a 15.7 percent increase over this year's certified rate. Naturally, the City is more excited to report the lower number than the higher one, thought the latter is technically correct according to Utah law. Either way, it's movement in the right direction.

I won't belabor the details, but the City got to the lower number by deferring some hiring and a project or two, including most of the trail work proposed at Art Dye Park; changing shifts at the Fire Department to eliminate overlap; moving the Beehive/Art Dye Park road from a proposed bond to the budget itself, and some other adjustments.

Councilman Shirl LeBaron remains on vacation, and Councilmember Sherry Kramer's was absent again for an unknown reason.

There was some more shuffling involving bond issues for the November ballot; no doubt there will be more of that to come.

I'm not aware that anyone has mentioned it at a City Council meeting, but the thought strikes that adopting last year's certified tax rate for this year would be a 6.8 percent increase according to the state's definition, but could be mostly defused politically by mentioning that the rate is the same as last year's, so it's really not an increase (except for those whose assessed value increased).

Just a thought.

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