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Sanpete County property owners are faced with a tax increase come November. Some of the increase comes from the Central Utah Project, but most of it stems from the county's two school districts.

Countywide, the CUP increase will amount to only $2 on a $75,000 home. But the school district increases will add several times that amount.In the South Sanpete District, because of valuation increases, a homeowner will pay $12 more on a $75,000 home. District officials say that's needed because South Sanpete is the poorest district in the state in its ability to raise money via the property tax.

The increase will be almost enough to pay for an additional book for each student.

The North Sanpete increase - a major one because the voters approved a levy boost in a special bond election to support a building program - will add another $21 to the bill on the $75,000 home.

County officials aren't greatly troubled by the tax increase. They feel it's due.

What does trouble them, however, is the cost of defending the four Gunnison regional prison inmates accused in the slaying of a fellow inmate. By estimate, that bill could reach $200,000.

"When the costs come in we'll have to open the budget and take it out of surplus," said Jay Alder, the county auditor. Sanpete County has had the practice of carrying a surplus over from year to year as a way of avoiding issuing tax anticipation notes with its added expense.

That practice could end if Sanpete is hit with heavy charges for defending state prisoners, Alder says.