Group: Ban non-Kaysville residents from tax hearing

Wednesday , July 16, 2014 - 6:00 PM

Standard-Examiner staff

KAYSVILLE — Non-residents shouldn’t be weighing in on Kaysville City’s proposed 102 percent property tax hike at the Aug. 12 Truth-in-Taxation hearing, says a leader of a concerned citizens group.

“It is unfair for these people to have a voice,” Kaysville Citizens for Responsible Government chairman Orwin Draney told the city council Tuesday.

At a June budget hearing, many of those who spoke in favor of the tax increase - amounting to about $140 more a year for the average homeowner - were not residents of the city, including two police officers.

“The budget and the property tax increase being proposed will affect the forcible taking of money from the pockets of Kaysville citizens only,” Draney said.

But city leaders contend there are those who do not live in the city, such as business owners, employees or landlords, who may be negatively impacted one way or the other on the proposed tax increase and those people need to be heard.

“I think it is important for us to hear from anybody who wants to talk to us,” Councilman Brett Garlick said.

The city council is proposing a 102 percent property tax hike to pay for the construction of a $5.5 million police station and to add two firefighters and two police officers.

The proposed tax increase does impact police officers where it addresses public safety, Councilman Mark Johnson said. “You can’t just dismiss a police officer.”

Councilwoman Susan Lee, who to date has been the lone dissenting voice on the council openly opposing the proposed property tax hike, said she believes the council during the Truth in Taxation hearing could require those addressing the council to share their name, as well as where they live, so city leaders can fairly weigh their comments.

The Truth in Taxation hearing is scheduled at 6 p.m., Aug. 12, at  City Hall, 23 E. Center St. The council will then hold a special 6 p.m. Aug. 14 meeting to take official action on the tax hike.

Mayor Steve Hiatt said it would seem disingenuous to those offering public comment at the Aug. 12 meeting if the council were not to take a few days to consider and review the comments made before taking their vote.

But just how much wiggle room city leaders have in their proposed budget is uncertain.

With construction already under way on the police station, that cost being about 45 percent of the proposed tax increase in balancing the budget, it may be difficult for the council to eliminate a tax increase altogether unless another revenue source is found to address the annual bond debt for the police station.

Many of the residents who addressed the council at a June budget meeting spoke of how frustrated they were that as residents they voted down at the polls the construction of the police station based on its cost, and then the council turned around and approved its construction.

Of the seven people who spoke in favor of the property tax increase during the June hearing, three were not residents of the city, including two police officers, Draney said.

Contact reporter Bryon Saxton at 801-625-4244 or Follow him on Twitter at @BryonSaxton.

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