NORTH OGDEN — North Ogden officials approved a property tax hike Tuesday for fiscal year 2020-2021 following a public hearing on the matter.
Officials in South Ogden, meantime, held a separate hearing a proposed take hike there, but likely won’t take action until Aug. 18.
The North Ogden City Council voted 5-0 to adopt the 2020-2021 spending plan, including the hike, after hearing a range of questions, cautionary comments and support from the public on the proposal. The North Ogden tax hike will boost taxes on a home valued at $329,000, the average, from $181.31 to $213.52, up $32.21. That would generate an extra $223,000 in property tax funds for the city for the year.
“We really have a large number of people in the community on fixed incomes,” said Keith Foulger, offering cautionary words about the potential impact of a tax hike. Dan Ferrin, another resident who spoke out, suggested looking for revenue from sources other than property taxes.
Still, the sensitive subject of taxes notwithstanding, not everybody at the North Ogden hearing bristled at the notion.
“We moved here because it was a beautiful bedroom community,” said Marjean Swanson, OK with the prospect of the increase. To maintain such communities, she went on, sometimes takes extra tax revenue.
Likewise, Randy Winn expressed support, saying smaller increases more often might be more palatable than less frequent but larger hikes.
North Ogden leaders spent more than an hour before the hearing on making the case for the increase. Inflation reduces the buying power of tax revenue and the economic future is uncertain as the COVID-19 pandemic continues. Moreover, city staffers have taken steps to save funds, trimming nearly $650,000 from initial spending proposals.
North Ogden Mayor S. Neal Berube, for his part, emphasized that officials in North Ogden haven’t sought a property tax increase requiring a truth-in-taxation hearing, as on Tuesday, since 2003.
‘UNDUE STRESS’At the South Ogden hearing, three online commenters expressed concern at the notion of a tax hike, worried about the impact on those already suffering due to the economic downturn brought on by the pandemic.
“This is a horrible year to add any additional burden to the citizens that have been financially ransacked by the COVID-19 bit,” wrote Joshua Payne, one of the South Ogden commenters. “There are a lot of us that have lost jobs or had hours reduced, this will only strain us even more. Something has to give and you are asking us to get blood from a turnip essentially.”
Michelle MacFarlane, another online commenter there, said a tax increase could create “undue stress” on struggling South Ogden households and businesses. “With the pandemic, it’s a time of uncertainty, job losses, and people looking for housing,” she wrote.
Otherwise, Tuesday’s hearing in South Ogden unfolded undramatically, with the few in attendance who spoke out mainly seeking additional details about the proposal.
The South Ogden proposal would raise the taxes on a home valued at $290,000, the average, by $29.19 for the year, from $401.46 to $430.65. In all, the increase would generate around $222,000 in additional property tax revenue. A decision on whether to increase taxes will likely come at the planned Aug. 18 South Ogden City Council meeting, when the body will consider formal adoption of the spending plan for 2020-2021, including the tax hike.
South Ogden Mayor Russell Porter emphasized the fact that the tax rate for South Ogden for 2020-2021, 0.27%, would be the same as the rate for 2019-2020, per the rate hike proposal. Property taxes are determined by multiplying the tax rate by the taxable value of property.
If the tax hike in South Ogden isn’t approved, the tax rate for 2020-2021 would be around 0.2517%, extrapolating from data provided by Weber County Clerk-Auditor’s office.
Leaders from the city of Pleasant View and the North View Fire District have also proposed property taxes, with hearings coming up.