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Weber County mulls $3.9M tax hike for workers’ pay and to offset inflation

By Tim Vandenack - | Oct 19, 2023

Tim Vandenack, Standard-Examiner

Around 100 people attended a public hearing Tuesday, Nov. 23, 2021, on a proposed 4.5% hike in Weber County property taxes. The meeting was held at the Weber Center in Ogden.

OGDEN — Weber County leaders are proposing a property tax hike to help keep county workers’ wages in line with their counterparts elsewhere and to keep pace with inflation.

“No. 1, we need to stay competitive with our personnel so we don’t continue to lose personnel to other counties in the state,” said County Commissioner Gage Froerer. Inflationary price hikes, he went on, have affected prices of everything from cars to asphalt, putting pressure on county resources.

County commissioners last considered tax hikes in 2021, when they approved a 4.5% increase to boost funding for flood control and the county’s libraries.

The proposed 7.25% increase in general fund revenues, part of the tentative 2024 budget, would generate an extra $3.9 million for the county. Firm estimates for 2024 have yet to be pinpointed, but the county collected $57.77 million in property tax funding last year for use in 2023. The new increase — which wouldn’t appear on tax bills until next year — is the focus of a public hearing on Nov. 28, per state law. If implemented, it would boost taxes on a home worth $486,000, the average in the county, by $35.19 a year.

Numerous Weber County taxing entities approved tax hikes last August, variously citing inflationary price increases, need for funds to keep programs alive and more. Among the entities were the Weber and Ogden school districts, the North View Fire District and the cities of North Ogden, Harrisville and South Ogden.

In preparing the 2024 spending plan, tentatively up for preliminary approval by county commissioners next Tuesday, Froerer said department heads were instructed to search for places to trim spending. In all, they pared expenses by $2.4 million, he said, but new revenue demands are expected to offset that and then some.

“We basically cut spending first,” Froerer said.

Yes, people grumble about taxes, he went on, but if officials put off boosting taxes, the end result would probably be larger hikes down the road. In 2016, the last tax hike before 2021, county commissioners approved a controversial boost of 20% or so, brought on in part by inaction in prior years on taxes.

The 2021 tax hike that generated some $1 million in extra funds for flood control paid off, Froerer said. Improvements made possible by the new money helped prevent larger problems last spring as the record runoff of snowmelt filled the county’s rivers and streams. An additional $1.16 million of the 2021 hike was allocated for maintenance of the county’s five libraries.

The Nov. 28 truth-in-taxation hearing will start at 6 p.m. and be held at the Weber County Commission chambers in the Weber Center at 2380 Washington Blvd. in Ogden. The final 2024 budget is tentatively slated for adoption on Dec. 12.

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