This week the Summit County Council voted unanimously to raise your property taxes. If you have a million dollar home in the Basin, this will increase your taxes by about $190 a year. While the County is forced by law to have “Truth in Taxation” meetings to explain the increase to the public, the final vote was never in doubt.
What will you get for your annual donation? You’ll get the to keep the level of services you have become accustomed to. That’s about it. They won’t have to close the library in Coalville. The Sheriff won’t have to cut deputies. Roads will continue to get repaired. There will be money for mental health services. Those are probably all good things.
However, one of the interesting things pointed out by resident Kristen Brown at the first truth in taxation meeting is that the county budget had increased by about $14 million since 2013. That’s a 35% increase in budget, while our population has increased by about 9% over that time.
We also learned an interesting fact in a conversation after the meeting with Summit County Finance Officer Matt Leavitt. He said that if every piece of property around the Basin, that was entitled to be developed, was somehow developed tomorrow, it would only provide $700,000 in additional tax revenues per year.
So, we have a rapidly expanding budget that probably is unsustainable. Growth won’t provide enough money unless we want to increase entitlements. Most people either aren’t willing to accept fewer services or aren’t willing to tell their elected officials they can get by with fewer services.
What did we learn? We all better get used to regular tax increases.