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Spanish Fork City Council set to lower the certified tax rate

By Kelcie Hartley - | Jun 27, 2022

Connor Richards, Daily Herald file photo

The Spanish Fork Municipal Government building is pictured Tuesday, Feb. 4, 2020.

The Spanish Fork City Council proposed lowering the 2023 certified tax rate during the city’s regular meeting June 21.

Before the tax rate is finalized, the council will hold a truth-in-taxation public hearing allowing residents to address the proposed rate. The public hearing will occur sometime in August.

Finance Director Jordan Hales explained what entities receive Spanish Fork property taxes. All property taxes are split between Spanish Fork City, Nebo School District, Utah County, state charter schools and the Central Utah Water Conservancy District.

According to Hales, approximately 77.5% of property taxes go to the Nebo School District, 10% to Spanish Fork City, 9% to Utah County and 3.5% to the Central Utah Water Conservancy District.

“A certified tax rate is set to guarantee the same amount of revenue each year,” Hales said. Residents are often worried rates will go up if the value of their property increases, but that isn’t true, he explained. The city lowers its property tax rate when home values increase, keeping the revenue the same each year.

Hales’ presentation showed the average home value in Spanish Fork for 2022 was $460,800 with a certified tax rate of .001129. Hales said the council could choose to adopt the same rate for 2023 or change it.

City Manager Seth Perrins made a recommendation to the council was to let the tax rate fall to .00111, a 1.6% decrease, based on home valuations that are expected to generate $950,000 from existing properties and $280,000 from new growth properties. He said the impact this would have on the average home would be an increase of approximately $5 per month, totaling to $60 a year.

The council approved Perrins’ recommendation. When the truth-in-taxation hearing occurs, the council may approve a different rate than the one just proposed. Perrins advised the council members the rate couldn’t be increased from the .00111 they agree upon, but it could be lowered further.

The agenda had a resolution to approve the fiscal year 2023 tentative operating budget or the final budget for the council to discuss depending on the outcome of the certified sales tax. Hales informed the council that adopting the final budget wasn’t possible until the city had adopted the certified tax rate in August. He suggested the council approve operating from the tentative budget until the public hearing in August, and the council members agreed.

In other business, Perrins went over the final revisions needed to the 2022 budget. He called it a cleanup revision, which is the last needed before the new fiscal year.

Besides minor adjustments needed to several departments, Perrins said funds will be moved from the general fund into a parks and fairgrounds capital project fund. Doing so will simplify the carry-over process from each fiscal year. The funds designated to parks and fairgrounds will sit in its own fund to be used as needed and lessen the number of transfers needed.

“We won’t have to have some of the carry-over games that it feels like we play,” Perrins said. “That’s one thing we are starting to see here, and we will see it in the 2023 budget as well.”

He told the council that he hopes having a cleanup budget will not be needed in the future. He said the city is constantly refining the budget process.

“If we are budgeting right and working with our auditors right, we think with the directions the council has already given us we can deal with a lot of the changes by simply just by moving money around within budgets and taking care of most of the challenges that we see at the end of the fiscal year,” he said. “So, if we could eliminate altogether revision four next year, that would be awesome.”

Perrins said a majority of other changes were fine-tuning different departments and the costs of supplies, which are always increasing.

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