Riverdale mulling tax hike of up to 95% to help hire more police, firefighters
RIVERDALE — Riverdale officials are weighing a hike for 2023 that could nearly double property tax collections, enabling the city to hire more police and firefighters, additions that city leaders say are sorely needed.
“We’ve just got so many things we’ve put off for so long,” said City Administrator Steve Brooks.
The Riverdale City Council approved a resolution in June calling for a property tax hike as part of 2023 budget deliberations that would boost collections for the year to as much as $1.54 million. That’s more than double the $747,999 Riverdale collected for 2022 and a 94.8% jump over the $791,846 the city would otherwise be allowed to collect without a truth-in-taxation hearing, required when tax hikes are proposed.
The city hasn’t raised taxes since 2010, and Mayor Braden Mitchell said maybe officials should have, precluding the need for the large, proposed hike. “It’s never appealing to have to raise taxes,” he said.
He said Riverdale City Council members seem OK with the hike — among several proposed by varied taxing entities across Weber County — as long as it’s focused on bolstering public safety. The city currently needs two more police officers and one more firefighter. Accordingly, he said there has been some talk among City Council members of lowering the maximum proposed tax rate of 94.8%, presumably cutting out spending increases not related to public safety.
“I would love to see it scaled back,” Mitchell said. Brooks said rising gas prices and the need for more public works employees are also potential pressures on city spending.
The full proposed tax hike, focus of a public hearing on Aug. 16 at the Riverdale Civic Center at 4600 S. Weber River Drive, would boost taxes on a home worth $477,000, the median value, from $191.25 to $372.54, up 94.8%. The hearing starts at 6 p.m.
The feedback from the public so far indicates a measure of understanding from the residents, mixed with frustration. “I think they recognize the seriousness of the position we’re in,” Brooks said.
Also included in the proposed spending plan for 2023 are pay hikes for city workers of 3%-9% as well as 4% raises for City Council members and the mayor, according to Brooks. The City Council approved an ordinance at the June 21 meeting allowing the hikes, also inserting a provision allowing the elected leaders to opt out of the increase.
Sales tax revenue provides a larger chunk of funding for Riverdale, home to Riverdale Road and the many retail entities on the thoroughfare. Property taxes for fiscal year 2023 would total $1.54 million if the full tax hike is approved while sales tax revenue is expected to reach $7.31 million, according to preliminary budget numbers.
Among the other entities in Weber County seeking property tax hikes are the Ogden and Weber school districts and the cities of Harrisville, North Ogden, Ogden, Roy and South Ogden. North View Fire District and the Weber Basin Water Conservancy District are also proposing increases, all of them subject to truth-in-taxation hearings to be held in August.