OGDEN – Ogden School Board members approved a budget for 2019–2020 and voted unanimously against holding a truth-in-taxation hearing in August at its board meeting Thursday night.
Truth-in-taxation hearings are required if a board is considering raising taxes.
This decision means that the board accepted the certified tax rate and will not seek an increase.
The board concluded that the funds they would receive later this year after the expiration of the Business Depot Ogden Redevelopment Area, which began in 1998, would be enough to pay for the teacher pay increase they approved in May.
“Our property owners are already going to see an increase because of debt service. They voted for a bond, they’re going to pay for it,” said Don Belnap, the board’s president, referring to the bond approved by voters in 2018.
“My property taxes in the last nine years of the district have more than doubled to the schools, and they’re going to go up next year,” Belnap continued, “and I have a real hard time pushing for a Truth-in-Taxation (hearing) ... knowing that we’re going to lift anywhere from $2.5–3 million ... coming in from BDO. Why would I go out there and try to raise somebody’s tax knowing that that’s coming in?”
As described in previous Standard-Examiner reporting on Feb. 3, 2019, RDAs freeze the tax valuation for all taxable properties inside an area of land that’s been targeted for reinvestment.
For a specified time period or up to a certain amount, increases in property tax revenue in the area are put toward redevelopment.
Ideally, when the duration or dollar threshold is met, new development in an RDA has increased tax valuations, so governmental agencies see a new stream of cash that may not have otherwise been there.
Ogden School District’s budgeted revenue year for 2019–2020 is $139.7 million. Local funds make up 39% of the revenue, state funds make up 46%, and federal make up 15%, Superintendent Rich Nye said at the board meeting.
Property tax valuation increased 10.83% in the district. An average home in the district was worth $127,000 five years ago. Today the average home is worth $224,000, almost $100,000 more.
This increase is “helpful in that we get more bang for our buck with our tax rates,” said Zane Woolstenhulme, the district’s budget administrator. “As values go up, the tax rate automatically drops, so in any given year, you basically get the same amount of money as you had the prior year unless the board decides to go through the process of Truth in Taxation and have a tax hearing in the fall.”
Ogden School District has dropped in enrollment by 177 students, which means district funding based on the weighted pupil unit (WPU) will go down by about $625,000.
During the last legislative session, the weighted pupil unit increased $137 per student, bringing it to a new value of $3,532, Superintendent Nye said. Because enrollment in the district has declined by 177 students, it will receive 177 fewer WPUs.