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Uintah County residents fighting proposed property tax increase

Posted at 10:11 PM, Nov 07, 2023

VERNAL, Utah — Uintah County residents are outraged as their commission is proposing a 73 percent property tax increase.

Hundreds of residents poured into the Uintah Conference Center Tuesday night to make their voices heard.

“There are a lot of people, single parents and stuff like that, with this kind of tax increase, that will end up homeless because this economy right now,” said Brad Corlless. “You go to the store to get your grocery shopping, it's unbearable there. So now that they want to impose this on us when they make the commissioners make $96,000 a year, plus all their little other expenses they get given to them, and that's not fair to this community.”

For the average priced $292,000 home in Uintah County, the tax increase is about $175 a year. For businesses priced the same, it would be $318.

“What we're trying to do is is make it so that we can provide the things that we need to our community, but we also have a responsibility to our employees,” said John Laursen, a County Commissioner. “Just because the cost of living goes up for everybody else, it doesn't mean that the County employees are not subject to that same rise.”

After the previous commission lowered taxes year after year, the county is now catching up, said Laursen.

“We realize that nobody likes a tax increase, but it is an evil necessary sometimes,” he said. “The cost of the things going up, the inflation.”

Bart Haslem, a former commissioner, says there’s no reason for taxpayers to have this big of an increase.

“Uintah County should have the lowest tax rate of any county in the state because we have the blessing of having oil and gas and minerals here,” he said.

The county’s budget is still being finalized and any increase would not take effect until 2025. The commission is set to adopt a budget in December.