Ogden executives plan to move to more regular review of tax hikes | News, Sports, Jobs

BRIAN WOLFER, Special to Standard Examiner

The Ogden Municipal Building is pictured Wednesday September 2, 2020.

OGDEN — City officials are considering a policy change that calls for considering property tax hikes every two years.

Part of the goal is to avoid the need for sudden, large hikes caused by inaction over the years on whether to raise taxes, said Glenn Symes, senior policy analyst for the City Council of ‘Ogden. The policy change is contained in a proposed statement of financial principles that city council is due to consider at the body’s regular meeting on Tuesday as deliberations on the 2022-23 spending plan move forward.

Either way, if the board approves the change — a talking point for several years — that doesn’t necessarily mean a tax hike every two years is a given. “Whether they do it or not is up to the board,” Symes said.

The new policy would only pave the way for a more regular review of tax increases. Special Truth in Taxation Hearings must be held if a city or other taxing entity is considering raising taxes beyond what is allowed by state guidelines. This process requires planning, which is also included in the proposal.

Ogden City Council last approved a tax hike beyond what is allowed by state law on August 7, 2018. This hike, for the 2018-2019 fiscal year, generated $1.08 million in additional tax revenue for the city, strengthening property tax collection. at $13.29 million, down from $12.21 million, which collections would have been without an increase, according to state-maintained data.

According to city documents from that year, funds from the increase were largely used to increase the salaries of police and firefighters and to help cover the costs of running Union Station.

Whether city leaders seek to raise property taxes for 2022-23 remains to be seen. A budget, or at least a tentative plan, must be developed by the end of June, before the start of the new fiscal year on July 1.

“I think that’s TBD,” Symes said. “I think that’s a consideration, but we haven’t said yet if we’re going to do that this year.”

On Tuesday, the council will also consider a separate set of budget goals and guidelines that, among other things, will focus on ensuring employee compensation remains on par with compensation offered in other cities. “Therefore, the board will consider increases in the cost of living as necessary to make employee compensation competitive,” read the proposed guidelines.

The guidelines also focus on advancing the debate over whether to rebuild or revamp the Marshall White Center, a simmering point of contention. Specifically, they call for identifying the source of funding and scope of the project “for the renovation or replacement of the Marshall White Community Center.”

Generally, budget guidelines also contain language to ensure that the diversity of the city is considered in programming. “As an overarching goal, council wants to ensure that the diversity of the community is reflected in all of the city’s programs and services. Each of the strategic guidelines should be considered with this objective in mind,” they read.

Tuesday’s city council meeting begins at 6 p.m. Tuesday and will be held in the Council Chambers of the Municipal Building, 2549 Washington Blvd.


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