City Flag - Woodland Hills: Stock Photos 01

A Woodland Hills city flag flies in the middle of a roundabout Friday, April 13, 2018, in Woodland Hills. Isaac Hale, Daily Herald

A handful of Woodland Hills residents expressed concern Tuesday with a dollar-amount property tax increase city officials are considering that would bring the city approximately $35,000 in additional revenue.

If the increase is approved, the owner of a $548,000 home in Woodland Hills who paid about $1,236 in property taxes to the city in 2019 would pay about $1,310 this year, a $74 increase. The owner of a similarly valued business, meanwhile, would pay $133 more, an increase from $2,248 to $2,381.

The increase would only apply to the portion of property taxes collected by the city. The majority of property taxes paid each year by Utah County residents goes to school districts, while the rest goes to the county, cities, the Central Utah Water Conservancy District and other special districts.

Though the dollar amount paid annually by the average home or business would increase, the property tax rate would stay at the 2019 rate of 0.004345, according to Mayor Wendy Pray.

“The city’s proposing we stay at the same tax rate, which is going to tax at the same percentage that was charged last year,” Pray said during a Truth in Taxation public hearing on Tuesday. “So if your house is worth the same as it was last year, you would owe the same amount of taxes. It depends on if the county’s adjusted the value of your home.”

The mayor added that the average homeowner would see a dollar-amount increase since the assessed values of homes in the city are generally going up, “but every individual may or may not (see an increase).”

“The county was going to adjust our tax rate down because the value of our homes went up (and) the overall inventory of our homes went up,” said Woodland Hills City Council member David Pratt. “We have requested that, instead of them adjusting the tax rate down, that we have the exact same tax rate as last year, and that gives us about $35,000-$36,000 extra real dollars to come into the city for expenses that we have.”

Multiple Woodland Hills residents spoke in opposition to the proposed dollar-amount increase during Tuesday’s public hearing, arguing that city officials should consider budget cuts before requesting more revenue from taxpayers.

“I think that we need to be looking for ways to be more careful with our residents’ dollars,” said Megan Fuja, who added that she and other residents were collecting signatures on a citizen referendum that they would file if the proposal passed.

Tannin Fuja said he was “very concerned” with the amount in property taxes he has paid to Woodland Hills over the years and was “not interested in having the city take any more.”

“My city has personally cost me hundreds of thousands of dollars,” he said. “And I will now go to my parents, who are 80 years old, and ask them to take out a second mortgage on their home to help cover the costs. … If I had known that, along with all of the infrastructure problems and the tax increases, I would have seriously thought of living elsewhere.”

“My preference is to hold the taxes the same as they were last year,” said resident Trent Walker. “Not the rate, but the actual dollar value. I view it as a tax increase when our property values are going up.”

The Woodland Hills City Council did not vote on the property tax proposal on Tuesday and will consider it further during its meeting on Aug. 25.

Connor Richards covers government, the environment and south Utah County for the Daily Herald. He can be reached at crichards@heraldextra.com and 801-344-2599.

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