Saying their property taxes had jumped three to four times since last year, about 25 Iron County residents went in front of the Iron County Commission last week hoping for relief.
Most residents filling the county courthouse foyer in Parowan for the first of four board of equalization hearings were senior citizens on fixed incomes - many of whom are also facing high medical costs.Board of equalization hearings were held again Friday and will continue on Aug. 25 from 2 to 6 p.m. and Aug. 26 from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m.
Some residents, unable to shoulder the added tax burden, said they face moving or abandoning their property.
While some residents said they feared retaliation for speaking publicly, the commissioners were generally sympathetic and willing to make adjustments where the law allowed.
Most residents blamed the tax increase on the Iron County School District. They said the school board was not truthful when it promoted the $28 million bond election in February. Voters overwhelmingly approved the initiative, which will provide new intermediate and high schools in Cedar City.
Before the election, the board estimated approving the bonds which would increase the taxes on a $75,000 home less than $7 a month or about $84 a year. But property owners said their taxes have climbed by $300 to $400 per year.
"I may have to move out of my house and live in a tent," said Elizabeth Evans, a Cedar City widow who receives about $8,000 in annual income from Social Security and a small retirement fund. Her tax bill this year was $1,000 - up $200 from last year.
Evans, who said she moved here nine years ago from California because taxes in that state were too high, was also handed a bigger tax bill after her property was reappraised. Last year her home was valued at $79,000; now it's worth $88,000, according to the county assessor.