County budget pinched by property tax reversals, but commission avoids shifting burden to homes
In a meeting that began with an effort to poke fun at a Salt Lake Tribune column that appeared that morning, the Carbon County Commission took on some serious issues during its regular meeting on June 18.
Salt Lake Tribune columnist Paul Rolly penned a column in the Salt Lake paper that criticized the Carbon County Commission for passing a resolution in their last meeting claiming the county's rights in connection with the federal government's actions and put them in the same league with the LaVerkin City Council which a few years ago banned the United Nations from ever coming into their town. He wrote that the Carbon County "now joins LaVerkin in the tinfoil hat world."
The commission, saying that Rolly ought to have read the resolution before he commented on it, then donned some tinfoil hats that they had made.
Then they moved onto more serious matters.
In a repeat of what they did at the last meeting, but at that time without an advertisement that they were holding a public hearing, Seth Oveson, the County Clerk, opened up a review of the budget for the year. In the last meeting on June 4, he went over the changes that had occurred in this year's budget, both in expenditures and in revenues. The commission then opened up the budget review to public comment, but no one came up to speak. However, the commission themselves had some comments.
"We have cut this budget by $2.5 million over last year," said Commission Chair John Jones. "We didn't want the lower projected revenues to be slid over and burdening the county's homeowners."
He then went on to talk about central tax assessment and how it affects the county budget. It was a similar discussion that was had on Tuesday night at the Carbon County School Board meeting (reported on by the Sun Advocate on in the June 19 edition). Under central assessment organizations and companies that have property extended across the state are assessed by the state and the county gets their proportion of the tax. If those businesses appeal those taxes and win some kind of a rebate then the county (or school district, water district or any other special district that receives income from those properties) must refund money to the business.
This often happens either late into the budget year or sometimes even in the next budget year. Over the past couple of years there have been a number of these businesses that have appealed their tax bill and received relief.
The school district has decided to let the public speak in an August Truth in Taxation meeting about how they feel about a judgment levy that would assess more to everyone in the county to make up for those shortfalls, while the county has decided to take another route, which has been departmental budget cuts.
"I might note that there is another bill pending for this next legislative session that will take the county out of the process even more," stated Jones.
Jae Potter said that the way the county has been able to absorb the cuts is because of the dedication of the departments and their employees.
"We want to thank the departments that took cuts for staying within their cut allocations," he said.