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Truth-in-taxation hearings on property tax hikes to start this month

Posted at 3:22 PM, Aug 01, 2022
and last updated 2022-08-01 18:45:16-04

SALT LAKE CITY  — Across Utah, communities will hold a series of "truth-in-taxation" hearings as municipalities, water districts, school districts and even library boards propose increases in property taxes.

Altogether, 90 different taxing entities have proposed tax hikes. Depending on where you live, you may face several different property tax increases for everything from schools to public safety.

"You get someone who answers the phone when you call 911. You get roads, you get sidewalks, you get clean water, you get libraries, you get parks, you get recreation opportunities. You get all of the quality of life that cities provide," said Cameron Diehl, the executive director of the Utah League of Cities and Town, a group that lobbies for municipal governments at the state legislature.

A recent survey by the League found that public safety was the top reason municipal governments were proposing increases (46%); followed by growth and inflation (tied at 37%); personnel (35%) and infrastructure (33%).

Other entities like water districts have infrastructure needs to keep up with Utah's massive growth.

Truth-in-taxation hearings are legally required whenever a property tax increase is proposed. Taxing entities explain the need for the tax increase and take public comment.

Some communities have gone decades without raising property taxes, which has led to some sticker shock for residents. The Utah Taxpayers Association, a tax watchdog group, has called for cities to raise taxes every five to eight years to keep up with inflation (while acknowledging some elected officials don't want to do that because it's politically unpopular).

To find out where truth-in-taxation hearings will be held, contact your county auditor's office.