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Pleasant Grove considers property tax increase

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Posted at 10:26 PM, Oct 24, 2013
and last updated 2013-10-25 00:26:36-04

UTAH COUNTY -- Inside an old high school hallway, Pleasant Grove’s firefighters now come to work.

“It was built in the late 1940s,” Battalion Chief Corey Cluff said of the building his fire department operates out of.

The fire department moved into the space in the 1980’s, and according to them, not much has changed since. Tight quarters have forced them to store medical equipment in an old attic; one of the many sections of the building Cluff acknowledged isn’t up to code.

“We don’t really have any training facilities, things like that. It’s tough,” Cluff said.

The complaints are similar inside the city’s police department and courts, where outdated facilities have become a growing issue, which is why the city hopes to implement a 36 percent property tax hike to fix them.

“The need is not going to go away,” City Administrator Scott Darrington said.

The city has proposed using a $16.96 million bond to fund the project. The tax increase would translate to about $8.04 more per month on a residential property worth about $217,000.

“If we can build this for $14 million, $15 million, we won’t borrow the full $16.96. We’ll just borrow what we’ll need,” Darrington said.

But the uncertainty of how much and for what isn’t sitting well with everyone who lives in Pleasant Grove.

“They haven’t decided on what plan they want, the exact amount of the bond, and so I just don’t feel for me it’s responsible to vote on something that’s still so unclear,” said local resident Jennifer Bischoff.

With no concrete plans for the new buildings in place, many don’t feel comfortable moving ahead, yet.

“There are options A, B, C, D, E, F, G. And so, I think we just need more time to understand what the city is doing and to be smart with our resources,” said Julie Guilott, who has lived in the city for nearly 20 years.

The bond proposition will appear on the Nov. 5 ballot. If residents vote in favor of the project, city officials said they will likely consider various construction options over the course of a year.

“This is an investment in their futures and their children’s futures, where their kids are going to be able to come down to the station in 20 years,” Cluff said.