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Weber County, Weber Fire District proposing property tax hikes for 2022

By Tim Vandenack - | Oct 20, 2021

Tim Vandenack, Standard-Examiner

From left, Weber County Commissioners Scott Jenkins, Jim Harvey and Gage Froerer are pictured at the body's meeting on Tuesday, Oct. 19, 2021. The commissioners have proposed a property tax hike for 2022 to help with flood control and maintenance of the county's libraries.

OGDEN — Property tax hikes are potentially in the offing for Weber County residents to keep pace with flood control efforts, library maintenance and fire protection.

Weber County and the Weber Fire District are both proposing property tax hikes for 2022, which will be the focus of public hearings next month. The increases, if ultimately approved, wouldn’t appear on property tax bills until next year.

Weber County commissioners on Tuesday set the public hearing for the county’s proposed hike for 6 p.m. Nov. 23 at the Weber Center, 2380 Washington Blvd. in Ogden. The Weber Fire District hearing is set for 6 p.m. Nov. 9 at Weber Fire Station 61, 2023 W. 1300 North in Farr West.

The proposed county increase, boosting property tax collections by $2.16 million, would be used for flood control efforts and to increase funding available for maintenance of the Weber County Library System facilities. The increase represents a 4.5% hike over collections for 2021 of $49.56 million, excluding allowable hikes stemming from new growth.

The proposed Weber Fire District hike, boosting collections by around $850,000, would be used to hire additional staff and to bolster firefighters’ pay, said Paul Sullivan, chief of the Weber Fire District. The increase represents a 9.96% increase over 2021 collections of $8.02 million, excluding allowable hikes stemming from new growth.

The Weber County increase would be applicable to all county property owners. The Weber Fire District hike would only apply to property owners in its coverage area — the unincorporated parts of Weber County and Farr West, Hooper, Huntsville, Marriott-Slaterville, West Haven and Uintah.

County officials had been considering a tax hike for those living in the unincorporated corners of Weber County. Sales tax revenues have been larger than expected, though, precluding the need for such an increase, said Weber County Commissioner Jim Harvey.

He said the increase for flood control efforts stems in part from increased growth in the county. New roofs and parking lots reduce the area where rainwater can soak into the ground, increasing pressure on waterways to haul water to the Great Salt Lake and augmenting the need to keep them free-flowing.

The boost for libraries, Harvey said, would be used to maintain the five existing facilities. “It will take care of the library system as we currently know it into perpetuity,” he said.

Officials earlier this summer had discussed the possibility of a tax increase to help pay for a new library serving northwestern Weber County. But the facility would cost perhaps $25 million to $30 million and officials tabled the talk. Harvey said revenue from the proposed increase wouldn’t go toward a new facility, at least as currently envisioned.

Sullivan said the fire district increase would be used to hire three new firefighters to help man a ladder truck serving western Weber County and to recruit a chief in the latter part of 2022 who would oversee emergency medical services. Part of the funds would also be used to boost pay offered by the Weber Fire District to keep it on par with other fire departments, thus helping stem turnover.

“We just need to be comparable,” Sullivan said.

The Weber County increase would boost taxes on a home valued at $350,000, the county average, from $416.19 to $434.91 per year, a 4.5% hike.

The Weber Fire District increase would boost taxes on a home valued at $483,000, the average in the district’s coverage area, from $324.36 to $356.67, a 10% hike. The Weber Fire District last approved a property tax hike in 2017.

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