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Ogden Mayor Nadolski presents budget proposal with property tax hike

By Rob Nielsen - | May 9, 2024

Standard-Examiner file photo

The Ogden City Municipal building is pictured in this undated photo.

OGDEN -- Mayor Ben Nadolski noted at his first budget presentation during Tuesday's Ogden City Council meeting that it took very little time into his tenure as mayor to have to start planning for the next municipal budget.

"I took office on Jan. 2, and I had my first budget meeting on Jan. 4," he said.

Nearly a dozen meetings with city staff later, the mayor laid out a proposed $291,144,675 fiscal year 2025 budget. This is more than $20 million above the adopted $270,445,275 budget for 2024.

Among the proposals for Nadolski's first budget as mayor was a small hike in property taxes.

"I'm proposing to maintain the certified tax rate, which would estimate a modest 1% increase in property taxes," he said.

He said it's estimated this would raise around $183,000 in additional property tax revenue, not including an additional $600,000 in projected new growth.

Nadolski said it's proposed that this additional money would be utilized to cover a program benefiting first responders.

"That would be enough to cover our first responder mental health and stress management contract, which is about $185,000," he said. "That is a new expense for the city. Recently, in state law, there was a requirement that cities provide for mental health and stress management for first responders. We were lucky to have a grant to get us through the first couple years of that. That grant has since expired, so the expense is on us."

He made it clear that these numbers are only estimates for the moment.

"The specifics will not be known until June 7 when the certified tax rate and taxable value is known," he said. "The numbers that we've just provided are estimates and projections."

However, while a modest rise in property taxes could provide for one program, Nadolski pointed out that $183,000 is "not a lot of new revenue" in the grand scheme of things.

"We do have a lot of new expenses," he said. "We are a growing city. We are under increasing demands."

To help meet those demands, Nadolski is proposing a change in the city's agreement with Business Depot Ogden.

"I'll be proposing a policy pivot in our BDO lease revenue and how it's used," he said. "This budget proposes to transfer 12% of Business Depot lease revenue to the general fund."

He said the decision comes down to the need to take care of the assets that help major projects move forward.

"Over the years, I know that we've used the BDO lease revenue for CIP (capital improvement project) projects -- and we still will do that," he said. "But it's important to recognize that those CIPs don't just happen out of nowhere. They're made to happen and they're made to happen by people, and those people come with costs, and those costs are important that we keep track of and keep pace with. And it's not just people, it's our people and our staff, so we feel it's important to make sure that we are using this revenue in the general fund to keep track with employee salaries and, in so doing, we can make sure we are not tacking an additional tax burden on our taxpayers."

Nadolski said the transfer would still leave $5.7 million in BDO lease revenue to be utilized by the Redevelopment Agency and other CIP projects.

The mayor's proposed budget, presented at Tuesday's meeting, is by no means the final version. Several public discussions will be held between now and the August adoption of the budget.

For more information, visit https://www.ogdencity.com/172/Budgets-Finance.


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