Some residents oppose proposed tax increase in Kaysville

Posted at 10:24 PM, May 09, 2014
and last updated 2014-05-10 00:31:17-04

KAYSVILLE, Utah -- Get ready for some sticker shock if you live in Kaysville.

A tentative budget approved this week calls for a 102 percent property tax hike to the city-portion of your taxes.

Some residents claim the big hike is due to the city mismanaging money. Kaysville used to dip into money from its city-owned power company to help support its general fund.

Last year, voters passed Proposition 5, saying that's no longer allowed. A citizens group believes the city is mismanaging money and using Prop 5 to justify building a pricey police station.

"Council member Brett Garlick kept saying, 'Well if it wasn't for Prop 5 we could take this from the electric fund.' They were using it as a slush fund," claims resident  Margaret Brough.

Kaysville City officials admit they used to borrow money from the city-owned electric company to fund some developments, but they said it wasn't illegal and the cash was paid back.

"The evidence should certainly support the claims, and if you have the second lowest property tax rate in Davis County and your power rates are lower than Rocky Mountain Power, that doesn't speak to fiscal irresponsibility," Kaysville Mayor Steve Hiatt said.

Margaret Brough is with Kaysville Citizens for Responsible Government and said that since the city can no longer dip in electric funds to help pay for development, Kaysville homeowners will have to bear increased property taxes.

"The main reason is they're trying to increase our property taxes to pay for a city police station that was too big in 2010, it's still too big and the citizens voted it down," Brough said.

For a $250,000 home, Kaysville homeowners pay $137 to the city. Under a tentative budget approved this week, they would pay 102 percent more, roughly $277 per year.

But, the city insists that's still lower that other communities in Davis County, such as Farmington, Layton and Clearfield. Most of the money would pay for more police officers, fire fighters and the new police station, which cops said is necessary.

"It may have been defeated four years ago, but the need never went away," said Division Commander Paul Thompson. "In fact, it increased as we added man power. We have cramped space and have run out of space in some aspects and our ability to effectively do our job has gone out the window."

The mayor said Kaysville Citizens for Responsible Government doesn't represent everyone in this town and many are supportive of the police station. The tax increases have been tentatively approved but final approval of the budget isn’t expected until after August.

Meanwhile, lawyers for the citizens’ group hope Kaysville City will be more transparent and said they’re taking a closer look at numbers from the city’s electric fund.