Weber County commissioners (copy)

Weber County officials are holding open houses on the proposed 2020 county budget on Nov. 12 and 18, 2019. A hearing on the plan is set for Nov. 26, 2019. In this Oct. 22, 2019, photo, Weber County commissioners discuss a proposed tax shift in the plan that could increase property taxes in unincorporated areas of the county and reduce them slightly within the county's 15 cities and towns. The commissioners are shown here, from left to right, Jim Harvey, Scott Jenkins and Gage Froerer.

OGDEN — Weber County’s tentative budget for 2020 calls for $213.5 million in overall spending, up from $209.7 million for 2019, a 1.8% increase.

Those figures include the most common county operations plus things like debt payments, capital projects funding, funding for the Weber-Morgan Health Department and more.

Spending in the governmental funds — those representing public safety, parks, roads, library and other costs of the county’s key operations — is tentatively budgeted at $170.1 million. That represents a 1.6% increase from the 2019 figure, $167.5 million.

Among the notable elements of the budget is a shift in taxes that would reduce general fund property tax collections by around $500,000 and raise municipal services fund property tax collections, paid only by property owners in unincorporated sections of Weber County. The tax shift would slightly reduce the tax load for the vast majority of people living inside cities and increase it for those in unincorporated areas, where around 6% of the county’s population lives.

County commissioners unveiled the proposed shift on Oct. 22 and Commissioner Scott Jenkins said Thursday that he hasn’t gotten much feedback from the public since then. Officials, though, had already publicly broached the possibility so some in unincorporated Weber County were aware of it, he noted.

Commissioners formally presented the tentative overall spending plan for next year at their Oct. 29 meeting. Two open houses are scheduled on the spending plan and tax shift proposal — on Nov. 12 at the Ogden Valley Branch Library at 131 S. 7400 East in Huntsville and on Nov. 18 at Plain City Hall, 4160 W. 2200 North, both starting at 6 p.m. A formal public hearing on the budget and the municipal services fund tax hike contained within is set for Nov. 26 starting at 6 p.m. at the Weber Center, 2380 Washington Blvd. in Ogden.

Scott Parke, the county’s comptroller, told commissioners at the Oct. 29 meeting that expected medical insurance costs are going up 8.5% next year while dental insurance costs are to rise 15%. Employees will cover those costs out of pocket, but they’re to get a 45-cent per hour pay hike to offset the rises. Beyond that, employees will also be eligible for performance-based pay hikes of up to 3%.

The spending plan tentatively includes $4 million to help cover the costs of replacing the aging parking garage on the east side of the Weber Center, among many other elements.

The proposed increase in the municipal services fund, around $364,000 in all, aims to generate the money needed to cover the cost of county services provided in unincorporated areas, as required by state law. As is, collections from residents inside cities helps offset those costs.

On a home valued at $280,000, the proposed drop in general fund taxes would reduce the property tax load by $4.61, applicable across the county. The municipal services fund taxes applicable only to those in unincorporated areas on a home of the same value would go up by $20.33.

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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