When I ran for Morgan County Council in 2010, I vowed that I would never vote to increase property taxes. I’ve been able to keep that promise for seven years.
This is just my perspective on how we ended up here. Every budget year it has cost the county more each year to provide the same services as last year, just like your personal budgets. As health insurance, software, vehicles, utilities, fuel, and whatever else would cost more each year, the county was able to cover those costs. At the same time, we had less each year to spend on our roads and less revenue to maintain our 60-year-old building. Replacing a 1991 ambulance seemed impossible. We were taking $35,000 each year out of our general fund for our county library.
But all of us council members live here; we also pay taxes here. We have made it work for seven years.
Weber County provides our 911 dispatch services. Last year they increased our annual fee for this service $280,000, which we also covered this year out of the general fund.
Through Morgan County we have what is called Centrally Assessed property; buried pipelines are an example of this. The state of Utah was sued by a pipeline company this year claiming that the centrally assessed property valuation was too high. The court ruled in their favor, and $150 million was awarded to the company. Morgan County’s share is estimated to be around $250,000 that needs to be paid back this year, and that will be revenue lost for years to come.
With the 911 increase and the loss of the centrally assessed valuation, we decided during our budget meetings over the last two weeks we had no choice but to raise the County’s portion of your property tax. Our request is very specific- $473,277 General Fund, $100,000 Capital Improvement Fund, $35,000 Library Fund, purchase one ambulance (that will make three ambulances 1-new, 1 -2008, 1-1998, sell the 1991). We still have existing funds that we are using as well.
Tax rates are set each year by state code in June, I assure you that if our year-end revenues come in higher that projected, or any other instance that gives the county more revenue than budgeted, the rate will be lowered in June. This has been our hardest decision to make.
-“Lucky” Ned Mecham,
Morgan County Council Chairman