South Weber

Officials in South Weber, shown in this undated photo, are considering a property tax increase of nearly 100% to keep pace with city expenses. The increase will be the focus of a truth-in-taxation hearing on Tuesday, Aug. 13, 2019.

SOUTH WEBER — South Weber leaders are mulling a steep increase in property taxes, hoping to double collections for fiscal year 2020.

Collections for fiscal year 2019 totaled $352,000, according to the city. The proposed increase in city property taxes, focus of a public hearing on Tuesday, would nearly double that by $350,000 to $702,000, according to city estimates. The city property tax bill on an average-valued home, $345,000, would nearly double, from $136.81 to $273.43.

The increase, estimated at 99.96% in the official notice of the proposed changed, has already been focus of discussion in South Weber, including a July 16 open house.

“Although we’ve heard from some citizens who wish we were not raising taxes at all, most of the comments and questions we’ve received have been very thoughtful and see the need that the city’s trying to address the best way we can,” City Manager David Larson said in an email.

In a June newsletter to South Weber residents, Mayor Jo Sjoblom said the increase aims “to begin to meet the needs of our growing city and to begin to account for inflation.” The city, she noted, hasn’t raised property taxes since the city incorporated in 1971.

“This is a painful subject and a very difficult decision for any council to make; an action that is never popular and often contentious,” the mayor said in a July newsletter to residents.

The 99.96% hike is easily the biggest proposed percentage jump among the varied entities in Davis and Weber counties seeking property tax hikes this year via truth-in-taxation hearings. Next in Davis County is the 24.98% increase in property tax collections that the city of Layton proposes to generate money to build and run a new fire station. The city of Washington Terrace proposes the biggest percentage jump in collections in Weber County, 42.75%, meant to generate funds to bolster its fire department.

The city of South Weber, home to around 7,500 people, has provided plenty of background on the proposal on the city website. Next Tuesday’s hearing, scheduled to start at 6 p.m. and be held at South Weber City Hall, 1600 E. South Weber Drive, gives the public the opportunity to provide input. The South Weber City Council is scheduled to consider approval of the 2020 budget, containing the increase, at a meeting on Aug. 20.

The proposed South Weber increase, Larson said, aims broadly to cover rising costs of providing police and fire protection and for capital plans, including parks, public safety and street projects.

“In fact, current capital projects plans indicate 33 projects with a need of over $14 million dollars,” Larson said. “An additional $350,000 will help in that regard, but we still have a long way to go to provide the services that the community expects.”

He’s not sure why earlier South Weber leaders never increased property taxes before now.

“I can’t speak to the decision-making thoughts of previous city leadership. However, I believe strongly that they made the best decisions they could at the time and now the current leadership is doing the same,” he said.

Contact reporter Tim Vandenack at tvandenack@standard.net, follow him on Twitter at @timvandenack or like him on Facebook at Facebook.com/timvandenackreporter.

See what people are talking about at The Community Table!