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The City Journals

Murray City Controller Brenda Moore appointed as finance director

Jul 01, 2019 04:08PM ● By Shaun Delliskave

Brenda Moore became Murray’s finance director in June. (Shaun Delliskave/City Journals)

By Shaun Delliskave | [email protected]

Hitting the ground running, Brenda Moore was presented by Mayor Blair Camp as Murray’s new finance director and submitted the budget for approval to the City Council all in the same meeting. Moore, who was the city controller and interim finance director, took the reins of city finance after her boss, Danyce Steck, left the position. During the June 4 City Council meeting, Moore was unanimously approved for her new job.

Perhaps Moore’s most challenging task will be explaining how Murray City is not requesting a property tax increase, yet Murray taxpayers will see a tax increase. Murray School District's board is requesting a property tax increase to help bolster teacher salaries. Moore identifies the City’s budget complexity as being twofold.

“It’s a tie between property tax and sales tax. Property tax does not automatically adjust for inflation; the amount of property tax Murray City receives from year to year stays the same unless there is new growth, or we raise taxes. Many property owners see their tax bill increase and think the city is receiving more money, when, in actuality, it’s one of the other taxing entities listed on the property tax statement,” explained Moore. 

“As for sales tax,” she continued. “The challenge is how quickly the market can fluctuate, meaning that the amount the city collects can increase or decrease at any time. It took a few years for the amount of sales tax collected to recover from the 2008 recession. The city also closely monitors the state legislature, as there is often discussion about changes to the tax base, rate, or distribution formula. Any change the state legislature makes will affect the amount Murray City receives in sales tax revenue.”

Moore hails from Provo, Utah, and attended Utah State University, where she graduated magna cum laude with a degree in accounting and later acquired a master’s of accounting (MACC) with an emphasis in tax and computer systems. 

“I passed the CPA exam on the first sitting in 1984. That was back in the day when you used a pencil, no calculator, and were in a room with everyone else,” Moore said.

Her career began in the private sector, first in the internal audit area of Skaggs Alpha Beta, a subsidiary of American Stores, then to its tax department, then to another subsidiary, Skaggs Telecommunications, as an accounting manager. She left American Stores for Morgan Jewelers, where she worked for the next 14 years as their controller.  

“After leaving Morgan Jewelers to ride my bicycle across the United States, I spent three years with ACC Capital as their controller,” Moore said. “The leasing business did not hold my interest, so in 2011, I took a position with Murray City as its controller. I love what I do.”

Moreover, Murray City has loved her back; she was awarded “Employee of the Month” in February 2015. When she isn’t tied to a spreadsheet, you can usually catch her outdoors, often on her bike. 

“My vacations usually are bicycle tours, both self-supported and with tour groups, or hiking/backpacking trips.” 

With the abrupt departure of Steck, who took over West Jordan City’s chief finance job, Murray was left scrambling to fill the void. Fortunately, the City did not need to look far. According to Camp, Moore needed a little coaxing to convince her that she was up to the challenge. 

“The most challenging aspect of managing the city budget is the prioritization of projects. Murray City takes fiscal responsibility seriously, and all of our departments work hard to stay within their allotted budgets. There are many road projects, recreation programs, facility improvements, and numerous other projects that are all worthy of investment,” Moore said. “My role is to ensure that we stay within the budget and work to make every dollar count. Like everyone else, the city is paying higher prices for materials and services, adding yet another challenge to finishing all of the projects we would like.”

UPDATE: A previous version of this story incorrectly stated both Murray and Granite School Districts were requesting property tax increases. Granite School District is not requesting a tax hike to increase teacher salaries. Read about ways Granite School District compensates their teachers here