UINTAH -- Rather than increase taxes to pay for higher public safety costs, the Uintah City Council is reducing, and in some cases eliminating, their salaries, in making up the deficit in its 2013-14 fiscal year budget.
The council made its decision during a Tuesday truth in taxation hearing, said Councilman Don Pearson.
In the new budget, Mayor Sue Bybee will receive $500 a month to perform her duties as mayor and as the city's water department manager. That reduces Bybee's wage by about $200 a month.
In addition, two council members will receive a flat $145-per-month payment instead of their regular monthly salary, consisting of them receiving $7.47 per hour. The reduction will amount to a monthly average cut of about $200 for each, Bybee said.
Pearson and Councilwoman Heidi Flitton have volunteered to take no salary for the fiscal year and have it applied toward the deficit, Bybee said.
The city council is a working body, each elected member paid to oversee a specific department due to a lack of staff.
To stave off the proposed tax increase that would have generated about $45,000 in new revenues for the city, the council also made cuts to its justice/safety and administrative office supplies, building supplies, fire and public safety equipment supplies and maintenance costs for the "U" on the mountainside, Pearson said.
The council also determined in the future it will solicit donations from the public for such city activities as the annual U-Day community celebration, Bybee said.
To help cover the rest of the deficit, city resident John Allen made a $1,000 donation to the city.
"Like other cities in Weber County, Uintah is faced with the increased cost of public safety contracts with the Weber County Sheriff's Office," Pearson said.
"A tax increase seemed inevitable," Pearson said of the proposed tax hike that would have increased city taxes by $91.11 per year -- from $116.24 to $207.35 -- on a $204,000 residence, according to a public notice posted on the city's website.
"It was a difficult meeting. We wanted to accomplish it, so we sat down and did it," Bybee said.
"We have to cut the budget because we don't have another way to do it," Bybee said, noting a dearth of sales tax base in the city, with just 13 commercial businesses, excluding home occupation businesses.
Uintah has about 1,300 residents with a general fund of about $600,000 per year, she said.