Weber County residents speak out against proposed tax hike

Posted at 10:20 PM, Aug 15, 2016
and last updated 2016-08-16 17:57:27-04

WEBER COUNTY, Utah -- Weber County Commissioners decided, Monday night, to postpone the vote on a proposed tax hike after more than two hours of public comment.

The proposed 25 percent property tax increase would add an extra $8.2 million to the Weber County budget -- $7 million of it would go toward county employee raises, specifically the sheriff's office.

"They decided to delay the vote until Nov. 29 so they can look into the issues that were raised so they can get through next year's budget process," said Lt. Lane Findlay with Weber County Sheriff's Office.

During the meeting, Monday night, Chief Deputy Klint Anderson talked about the need for increasing the wages for sheriff's office employees. He said in the past two years, the department has lost 20 percent of its staff.

"These people are leaving and making another six, eight, even 10 dollars more an hour," Anderson said.

Currently a lieutenant in northern Utah makes a high of $87,000 and an average of $71,000. A Weber County lieutenant makes $57,000, the lowest in northern Utah.

"We know that the level of service we provide under these circumstances has diminished, the public is not as safe," Anderson said.

Anderson said their veteran experience is disappearing, half of their patrol officers have been with the department for less than 18 months.

"We have seasoned rookies teaching unseasoned rookies, and a rookie is a rookie," Anderson said.

Under the tax increase, home owners, with a property value of $200,000 would pay an additional $75 a year, while business owners would pay $136.

Many residents said men and women in uniform deserve a raise, but that money needs to come from someone other than the taxpayer.

"They don't know if they are going to come home every night to see their family or nothing," said Tom Perfetto.

"I love law enforcement guys, they do a great job, they are willing to run to trouble, not from trouble, and yet they make less than half of what you make," said Cal McCrary as he addressed the commissioners.