A Salt Lake City Council meeting to discuss a proposed $8 million tax increase saw a surprisingly low turnout Tuesday night. Only five members of the public showed up to speak.
The $8 million property tax hike is estimated to translate into an additional $67.93 on homes valued at $250,000 and $494.00 on commercial properties valued at $1 million. The increase would be included on property tax bills issued this fall, and will be used for maintenance projects such as road repair, parks and city facilities, as well as for public safety personnel.
Carol Anderson, a Salt Lake City resident and constituent of council member Charlie Luke, was one of the five who spoke. “I think this [tax increase] would be awful,” Anderson told the council as she urged them not to support the change. “Between hearing aids, medical bills and everything else, the burden is getting too hard to bear. People my age have kids moving back home and asking us for money because they’ve been laid off by companies who don’t want to pay for Obamacare.”
“The tax increase was a difficult decision for me” council member Charlie Luke told Utah Political Capitol after the meeting. “Unfortunately [Mayor Becker’s] recommended budget created a nearly $3 million structural deficit with cuts to fire crews and police. Add to that the lack of infrastructure maintenance that has occurred in this city over the past several years, some due to the economic recession, but more because of prioritization of legacy projects over the services and infrastructure, and we’re in a very deep hole. While tax increases are not popular or easy for constituents to manage, myself included, I believe that delaying the inevitable would only cost us all more the longer we wait.”
There will be an additional hearing on Tuesday, August 15th, for the official Truth In Taxation public hearing.