Washington Terrace FD 01 (copy)

Firemen Chandler Ward, left, and Paul Llewellyn restock a medical kit on April 26, 2019, at the Washington Terrace Fire Department. City leaders have proposed a property tax hike for 2020, focus of a hearing on Tuesday, Aug. 6, 2019, to increase fire department funding.

WASHINGTON TERRACE — Washington Terrace residents are apparently accepting, somewhat, of the proposed property tax hike in the city, meant to bolster funding for the city’s Fire Department.

City Manager Tom Hanson said residents speaking out at the truth-in-taxation hearing on the plans Tuesday expressed grudging support for the plans. But they want city leaders to more actively pursue recruitment of businesses to broaden Washington Terrace’s tax base, thus relieving the tax load on homeowners.

“Find more revenue, find more business, make this happen,” said Hanson, alluding to the message residents sent leaders at Tuesday’s meeting. “Their main point was find some way to bring business in.”

The tax hike, contained in the proposed 2020 city budget, would generate an extra $260,000 or so for the Washington Terrace Fire Department, boosting its funding for 2020 to around $585,000. Per the change, the city tax on a $236,000 home in the city, the average, would increase from $179.90 to $256.87, up 42.8%. The City Council took no action Tuesday, only listened to the comments. Formal consideration of the 2020 budget plan, including the tax hike, is set for Aug. 20.

Broadening Washington Terrace’s tax base has been an ongoing point of debate given the limited commercial development in the city, which abuts Riverdale, an area commercial dynamo.

Around 20 people attended Tuesday’s hearing, Hanson said. They received a presentation on the proposed increase, subject of two earlier public meetings, asked questions and offered input.

The extra money from the proposed tax increase would allow the city to increase the stipend firefighters get, aiding in recruitment and retention. The new funds — resulting in an estimated 42.8% increase in property tax collections — would also allow the city to increase the number of firefighters on duty from two per day to three.

The South Ogden City Council also held a truth-in-taxation hearing on Tuesday for the proposed property tax hike there. A handful of residents spoke out against the proposed jump, which calls for an increase in tax collections of around 7.2% compared to 2019.

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

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