Sandy City Residents Will Pay More in Property Tax
Sep 09, 2015 11:14AM ● Published by Bryan Scott
By Stacy Nielsen
Sandy City passed a 4 percent property tax increase with this year’s final budget for the 2015-2016 fiscal year at the Truth and Taxation Hearing on Aug. 4, 2015.
“We haven’t raised taxes in 20 plus years. We have raised fees and we have been creative in how we’ve been able to pay the bills,” Councilman Chris McCandless said when addressing citizen concerns over the proposed tax increase, later indicating that it’s ongoing funding that is the issue.
The reasons for the property tax increase are said to be due to the costs of the Affordable Care Act, inflation, the erosion of sales tax and to maintain the current levels of service in the city.
The Affordable Care Act alone costs a total of $335,088.28 over a four-year period. The percentage of sales distribution has dropped from 1.08 percent since 1995 to .83 percent in 2015, due to the decreased population and the relocation of retailers outside of Sandy City – resulting in approximately a $950,000 annual loss.
Taking into account the costs of inflation over a five-year period, with the Consumer Price Index at 7 percent and the Employment Cost Index at 9 percent and increasing over the next 25 years, as well as what it costs the city to maintain items such as roads and parks, means it costs more to maintain the same level of service the city currently experiences.
The 4 percent tax increase will result in a revenue amount of $318,000 to the general fund.
Sandy City has the lowest property taxes compared to surrounding cities and will remain the lowest even with an increase.
Residents were able to get up and voice their concerns over the proposal, questioning whether or not this is the best time for property taxes to increase for the city.
Some of the concerns included residents who live on a fixed income, the lighting fee that has been added to residential water bills, the sales tax increase on fuel and state property tax increase to take effect this November.
The potential increase in sales tax in Salt Lake County to over 7 percent is on the ballot for the upcoming elections, as well as if funds are being allocated to critical needs of the city, such as public safety, infrastructure and public utilities over the premier life aspects of the city.
One resident in attendance at the hearing suggested a plan for economic development, in order to help recover the sales tax as opposed to the property tax increase. However, not every resident who addressed the council opposed the tax increase.
“We all got our property tax bills and we rejoiced,” Cindy Sharkey, a new resident of Sandy City as a result of the annexation of the Willowcreek neighborhood into the city, said.
She indicated her property taxes dropped significantly from that of Salt Lake County when the annexation took place and later stated, “The services are at least twice as good.”
“No one takes the importance of public safety more seriously,” District 2 Councilman Dennis Tenney said when he addressed the residents’ concerns as to this year’s budget.
Tenney expressed that public safety is the concern of each of the council members and the elected officials.
“That includes protecting, preserving and promoting the health, safety, and welfare of our neighborhoods,” he said, later indicating that the quality of life is what attracts corporations and people to Sandy City. With this in mind, he maintained that the “increase is reasonable.”
The city council listened and addressed each of the concerns that were raised by residents before voting to adopt the final budget, which passed six to one. Each member of the council voted in favor of the property tax increase on the budget, with the exception of Steve Cowdell from District 1.
“I do believe we ought to raise taxes, but I don’t believe that we ought to raise them this year,” Cowdell said.
Sandy City residents will see an impact as a result of the council’s decision. A home valued at $275,000 can expect to see about an additional $8 on a tax bill. A business that is valued at $300,000 will see approximately a $16.50 increase on a tax bill.
For more information about the tax increase, residents may call Sandy City at 801-568-7120 or visit http://sandy.utah.gov.