Truth in Taxation 2018

The City Council voted on 8/14/18 on a 5-2 vote to approve an 18% property tax increase.

“Some officials said after taxpayers showed up with pitchforks and hanging rope, they would rather run across the state naked than go through Truth in Taxation again,” says retiring Sen. Howard Stephenson, R-Draper, who is also president of the business-backed Utah Taxpayers Association and helped pass that law in 1985 as a lobbyist. – Salt Lake Tribune 

What is “Truth in Taxation?”

 

Truth in Taxation is a process established by the Utah State Legislature where city and county governments and school districts are required to hold a public hearing and inform taxpayers of increases and vote on them before making changes.

 

Utah Law requires that property tax rates automatically adjust when property values increase or decrease so the amount of money the City of West Jordan receives is the same from year to year. The laws are designed to hold property owner’s tax burden at a constant level from year to year unless the taxing entity’s legislative body (the City Council) votes to increase the tax through a process of notification and public hearing.

 

For more information on Utah's Truth in Taxation process and its history, here's a recent article that talks about the truth in taxation process that many entities are in the midst of now. 

 

Salt Lake Tribune Article on Truth in Taxation

 

Taxes pay for services we as a community share

 

While no one likes paying more in taxes, taxes pay for those services we as a community share, like round-the-clock police and fire protection, paved roads, public parks, clean water, reliable sanitary sewer, and the support services that make our city function. These core services make West Jordan a great place to live and raise a family.

How much is the proposed tax increase? How will the funds be used?

 

If the proposed property tax is approved, it would add an additional $2,443,207 to the City's General Fund.  To continue to keep pace with the needs of our growing community, the City Council is considering a property tax increase to fund the following:

  • More public safety personnel are needed to keep the community safe.  (9 Fire, 10 Police)

  • Crossing guards to protect our children (increase wages to improve retention and attract new hires)

  • Additional personnel in the prosecutor’s office to support police

 

How will the property tax increase impact me?

 

The proposed tax will increase a West Jordan homeowner’s total tax from .1823% to .2166%. For a home valued at $295,500, the proposed tax increase would increase to 92 cents per day or just under $335 a year (from 76 cents per day). Click this Tax Bill Estimator to calculate the numbers. Keep in mind the proposed increase is not on your total tax bill, just the city's portion.

Tax calcultator.png

What public meetings are scheduled that I can attend? Can I provide comment?

 

A budget workshop is scheduled for Wednesday, August 1, at 1 p.m. (No public comment is allowed at the workshop.) A Truth in Taxation Hearing will be held Tuesday, August 14, at 6:00 p.m. There will be a public comment period at the August 14 Truth in Taxation Hearing. Both meetings will be held in the 3rd floor City Hall Council Chambers.

 

We will also be holding our normal City Council Meeting Wednesday, August 8 at 6 p.m. where the public is welcome to make tax-related comments as well.

 

Who receives the property taxes I pay?

 

Your property taxes go to a variety of entities including the school district, county, county libraries, West Jordan City, and other special districts. The pie chart below provides additional details.

What does the City of West Jordan do with the taxes I pay?

 

The property taxes collected by the city are added to the general fund which pays for things like emergency services including police and fire, parks, roads and signs, sidewalks, and snow removal.

 

Property Tax Revenue accounts for $12,216,036 of West Jordan’s general fund. To put things into perspective, this covers only 39% of the 2018-2019 proposed budget for Police and Fire. Other sources of revenue include Sales Tax Revenue and Cable & Utility Franchise Tax; $19,099,320 and $8,062,000 respectively.

 

When was the city’s last property tax increase?

 

The city’s property tax increased in 2012 and before that in 1988. Other entities have increased their portion of your property tax, but the city's portion has only increased twice in the last 30 years. In the meantime, inflation increases on average 2.7% each year.

How is my property’s value assessed?

 

The value of your home or business property is determined by the Salt Lake County Assessor. Residential property owners receive a

45% deduction from their home value to determine the taxable value, which means you pay property taxes on 55% of your home's value. 

For more information, visit https://slco.org/assessor/

 

The tax “rate” collected by the City is not a percentage rate that automatically brings in more dollars as home values go up. It is a flat dollar amount. Without raising rates, the city gets the same dollars city-wide, except for new properties added, regardless of home values or inflation.

 

How do I read my valuation notice?

 

Salt Lake County Assessor's Office and Auditor's Office work together to determine the property valuations and various tax rates that are reflected on your property tax notice. For their official responses to common questions regarding your Notice of Property Valuation you received, visit https://slco.org/auditor/property-tax-division/valuation-notice/ or click the image below.

 

Notice of Tax Changes Example.png.jpg

Why do my property taxes change from year to year?

 

The City does not adjust the property tax rate without holding a Truth in Taxation hearing, despite yearly increases in property values and inflation (which averages about 2.7% inflation per year). The amount received from property taxes is the same from year to year plus any increase from new growth and development.

 

Your rate may only change without a Truth in Taxation hearing to keep the dollar amount paid to the City fixed. For example, if your home’s value goes up by 15%, the tax rate by the city (along with any other taxing entity) will be reduced by 15%. The opposite is true as well.

 

Because housing values are assessed in relation to each other, another scenario could be that your home appreciates 20% while other nearby homes appreciate 10%. In this scenario, the property taxes would be reduced by 15% leaving your home 5% above the average, effectively increasing your property tax.

 

Another reason for fluctuations in property taxes from year to year includes other non-city entities adjusting their rates after holding their own Truth in Taxation hearing (for example the school district and county). 

 

Lastly, bonds that have been voted on and are paid for by property tax revenues can fluctuate as bond payments change from year to year. 

 

How does inflation affect the base tax revenue?


There is no "cost-of-living" or inflation adjustment to the property tax. The amount of money the city receives from property taxes is fixed, regardless of inflation.  Because the base amount of tax revenue is fixed, over time the City can provide fewer services for the same tax revenue generated year after year.

 

What if I can't afford to pay my taxes?

 

There are a variety of tax relief programs available through Salt Lake County that are dependent on certain qualifications.

 

Find out more at https://slco.org/treasurer/tax-relief-applications/

NOTICE OF PROPOSED TAX INCREASE

CITY OF WEST JORDAN

 

The CITY OF WEST JORDAN is proposing to increase its property tax revenue.

 

- The CITY OF WEST JORDAN tax on a $295,500 residence would increase from $278.89 to $334.67, which is $55.78 per year

 

- The CITY OF WEST JORDAN tax on a $295,500 business would increase from $507.08 to $608.49, which is $101.41 per year.

 

- If the proposed budget is approved, CITY OF WEST JORDAN would increase its property tax budgeted revenue by 20.02% above last year's property tax budgeted revenue excluding new growth.

 

All concerned citizens are invited to a public hearing on the tax increase.

 

Public Hearing

 

Date/Time:   8/14/2018    6:00 PM

Location:     West Jordan City Hall Council Chambers

                    8000 S Redwood Road

                    West Jordan

 

To obtain more information regarding the tax increase, citizens may contact CITY OF WEST JORDAN at 801-569-5163.

Mayor and Council Districts      District Map

Mayor Dirk Burton

Councilmember Chris McConnehey (District 1)

Councilmember Melissa Worthen (District 2)

Councilmember Zach Jacob (District 3)

Councilmember David Pack (District 4)

Councilmember Chad Lamb (At Large)

Councilmember Kayleen Whitelock (At Large)

Councilmember Kelvin Green (At Large)

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