Truth in Taxation hearings will focus on proposed property tax increase
A potential property tax increase in three separate San Juan County funds is under consideration by the San Juan County Commission.
The potential increases will be the focus of Truth in Taxation public hearings on Wednesday, December 5 beginning at 6 p.m. at the San Juan County Commission Chambers in Monticello, 117 South Main Street.
Three separate funds recommending a property tax increase include the San Juan County General Fund, the San Juan County Library, and the San Juan County Public Health Department.
In late November and early December, several other taxing entities have held or will hold budget hearings. These entities are not proposing a property tax increase.
As a result, they are not required to hold the Truth in Taxation Hearings that are mandated by state law if proposed tax increases exceed the certified tax rates.
According to county officials, San Juan County is already the highest-taxed county in Utah by percentage. In 2019, the average property tax bill in San Juan County was $911, or 0.84 percent of the total assessed value of the property.
The lowest percent of assessed value charged in property taxes is 0.35 percent of the total assessed value of a home in Rich County.
In total, 26 of the 29 counties in Utah have a tax bill less than 0.61 percent of the assessed value of properties.
The highest property tax rates, below the 0.84 percent rate in San Juan County, are 0.77 percent in Weber County and 0.67 percent in Salt Lake County.
If approved, the proposed rate increases would raise the total property tax in San Juan County to 0.88 percent of the total assessed value of a home.
Proposed property tax increases:
For the county general fund, the proposed increase would raise the tax rate by 14.7 percent and would generate $288,863 in additional taxes. If approved, the taxes on a $200,000 home would increase by nearly $40 and taxes on a $500,000 business would increase by $181.
San Juan County Clerk John David Nielson explained that the general fund increase would help the county cover the costs of litigation.
In addition, the increase would be used to hire personnel and shore up other funds, including expenditures for Emergency Medical Services.
Nielson stated that overages in the library and public health funds have been covered by the general fund in recent years.
The proposed increase would raise the tax rate for the library fund by 34 percent and raise an additional $135,000 for the libraries.
Property taxes currently generate almost $400,000 per year. The property tax increase would be $19 for a $200,000 home and $85 for a $500,000 business.
Officials state that the increase is necessary since expenses currently exceed revenues by up to $100,000 a year, with the overage covered by the General Fund.
Public Health Fund
The San Juan Public Health Department has operated a number of programs since it was created several years ago.
Previously, the services were offered through the Southeastern Utah District Health Department in Price.
The department operates at it’s headquarter facility in Blanding.
The Public Health Department is one of three public health care entities in the county.
Tax increases are not proposed for the San Juan Health Service District or San Juan Counseling.
The proposed increase would raise the tax rate for the public health department by 110.6 percent and would generate an additional $148,000 for the department.
At the current time, property taxes generate $135,000 a year for the district.
The property tax impact for the owner of a $200,000 home is $20.68, and $94 for the owners of a $500,000 business.
The public health department states that their fund balance is exhausted. The district relies on transfers from the general fund to cover shortfalls.
While approximately 70 percent of the cost of department programs is covered by state and federal funds, the Public Health Department has additional staffing needs that are not covered by grants and fees.