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S.L. COUNTY RESIDENTS FACE BIGGER TAX BITE FOR SCHOOLS

Salt Lake property taxpayers will have to dig deeper to pay for seismic retrofitting of the city schools than officials originally reported.

The owner of an $80,000 home will have to pay a tax increase of $53.60 if the Salt Lake Board of Education adopts its proposed 1991-92 budget June 18. School officials originally said the higher tax bill would be $33.18 on an $80,000 home.Business Administrator W. Gary Harmer said the lower tax increase was incorrectly reported because the original numbers were based on the older percentage used for the assessed valuation on residences.

The 1991 Legislature moved the assessed valuation used to determine property taxes on homes from 60 percent of value to 67 percent. The shift came after the AMAX Corp. court decision that shifted property taxes from centrally assessed properties such as mines, utilities and railroads to locally assessed properties such as homes and businesses.

The court determined that centrally assessed properties had been unfairly taxed at 100 percent of value while homes had been at 60 percent and locally assessed businesses at 80 percent.

The Legislature moved the homes to 67 percent and the local businesses to 95 percent of value.

Harmer said he didn't realize that the change in assessed valuation would affect homeowners when the school budget was assembled.

The business administrator's comments came after the Utah Taxpayers Association Monday charged that 15 school districts, including Salt Lake, were going to reap a tax windfall from the confusion over the AMAX decision.

The taxpayer watchdog group said it appeared that Salt Lake District might benefit the most because of the tax increase in its capital-outlay fund for seismic retrofitting and a tax windfall in the other tax levies due to AMAX.

Harmer, who spoke in a phone interview while attending a meeting of the Government Accounting Standards Board in Connecticut, said his district will not reap any windfall in its other tax levies from the changes in the assessed valuation of homes.

While there was an inadvertent mistake in the reporting of the tax increase for the seismic retrofitting, the district will get no more than a 0.3 of 1 percent difference in its tax revenue from this year's budget, Harmer said.

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(Additional information)

Hearing set

The Salt Lake Board of Education will hold its budget hearing at 7 p.m. Tuesday, June 18. It will hold a truth-in-taxation hearing on the budget at 7 p.m. Aug. 6.