Matthew Jelalian 01

Matthew Jelalian poses for a portrait in the Daily Herald studio on Friday, March 6, 2015. SAMMY JO HESTER, Daily Herald

At my full-time job, there’s this policy that as long as we’re meeting our goals and deadlines, we’re free to work when and where we want. We’re only required to be in the office for certain mandatory meetings and most of them are mandatory because a client will be there.

But other than that, it’s all about meeting goals.

This policy is great because when you have work, you do it, but if you don’t have work, you spend your time doing something else.

But it’s tough because the work cycle has a feast or famine nature to it. You either have nothing to do or a bunch of deadlines that are all due in the next 48 hours.

Now, if you’re smart, you’ll work ahead and give yourself a bit of a time cushion.

Just because something is due Monday doesn’t mean you have to wait until Monday to do it.

But I, as you could assume, am not always that smart.

Like everyone else, I have had times where I simply do not have it in me to get any work done.

Sometimes, when I’m feeling unmotivated, I just tell myself, “Future-me can worry about this because Present-me doesn’t want to.”

And to date, I’ve never felt good about making that decision when I’ve made it. There’s always some last-minute emergency project that springs up and adds an extra 4 hours to an already full day of work and those deadlines have to be met, emergency project or not.

It’s always better to do the work now and plan for the future than it is passing the buck to your future self.

This is why it bugged me a little when I got a postcard in the mail that said I’d be seeing a property tax increase. I was especially irked when, at first glance, it looked like my property taxes were doubling.

Luckily, the Daily Herald’s Connor Richards reported on the story to talk me off the ledge.

“Here’s an example of how the property taxes in Utah County work: If a house is valued at $334,000, 55% percent of this value is taxed after accounting for homeowner tax exemptions,” reports Richards. The Utah County general levy gets 6.8% percent of the $1,989 total property tax, which comes out to $123.45 in revenue annually. This number would double under the commission’s proposal, meaning the homeowner in this scenario would receive an annual bill of $246.90.”

So, it’s not all of my property taxes that are doubling, but the Utah County general levy.

Nobody likes a tax increase, but doubling a portion of my property taxes is a far cry from doubling their entirety.

And our property taxes are still pretty low compared to other parts of the state.

“Josh Daniels of the clerk/auditor’s office noted in the Oct. 8 meeting that Utah County currently has the lowest general fund property tax rate of any urban county along the Wasatch Front,” reported Richards. “Even if the general fund tax doubled, as proposed, the Utah County rate would still be lower than those of Salt Lake, Weber and Davis counties.”

Connor reported that we have, in some ways, enjoyed a decrease in taxes over the years.

“Property taxes paid by Utah County residents have not kept up with inflation, according to Daniels,” reported Richards. “In 1998, a traditional single-family homeowner in Provo paid about $74 in property taxes to the general fund. Today, they pay about $96 which, after adjusting for inflation, is a 30% decrease.”

The Utah County Commissioners Bill Lee and Tanner Ainge have sparred over the issue but it looks like this issue has to be addressed in one way or another. There will also be a public hearing on the increase at 6 p.m. Dec. 11 at the Utah County Administration Building, and I’m sure plenty of people will come to either support or oppose the increase.

But what bothers me is not the increase so much as the government’s ability to kick this can down the road. I expect various taxes to go up every year. I don’t like it, but that’s the reality of the world we live in. Taxes go up. Rent goes up. Inflation gets more expensive.

That’s just life.

But the fact that we’ve seen a 30% decrease in the past 20 years, and we now need to double those funds is worrisome, to say the least. What else are we waiting until the last minute to fix? What other projects could use work now but are being put off until later?

Even if my property taxes aren’t exactly doubling, I’m still seeing an increase of a few hundred dollars. And even though someone my age who hasn’t peaked career-wise may be able to make that work, lower-income and fixed-budget residents will have a harder time with the increase.

If nothing else, I would assume smaller increases would be easier for residents to account for in their budgets and larger ones.

If after certain cuts and money-saving measures are done, the numbers still indicate that we need to increase our taxes, fine. We have to do what we have to do.

I just wish past Utah County didn’t avoid increasing them by tiny amounts so future residents had to work a lot harder to make it work within their budget.

See what people are talking about at The Community Table!