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Kaysville may raise taxes for road repairs

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Property taxes on a $100,000 home could increase $76 a year if the City Council decides to raise more money for road repairs later this summer.

The council voted 4-1 to set a special public hearing on the issue. It wants to let residents help decide on the possible tax increase - a 50 percent jump in the city's small share of the total property tax bill homeowners would receive in November.The average value of a home is Kaysville is estimated at about $165,000.

The proposed tax increase isn't a new issue. The council first discussed it last fall as a way to help fund $7.5 million in needed road improvements over the next five years.

If eventually accepted, it would amend the city's tentative budget by increasing tax revenues from $2.88 million to $3.33 million, giving Kaysville an extra $450,000.

Councilmen stressed they're not obligated in any way to raise taxes, despite the scheduled public hearing on a so-called tax increase.

"My feeling is to get input from the public," Councilman Robert Rees said. "It's not a done deal. What it means is we have to go through the process. . . . I hate taxes as much as anyone, but I also hate roads that are in disrepair."

Darrell Horne was the lone council member who voted against having the tax increase hearing. "I resent a tax increase because it never ends," he said.

Mayor Brian Cook agreed.

"Why put it in this year's budget if it isn't needed until next year?" he pleaded with the council.

Cook argued that adequate money for road repairs is already in the 1998-'99 fiscal year budget. It's the next four years after that when extra income will be needed.

"We're at least a year early on this process," Cook said, explaining a tax increase should be considered when no options are avail-able.

A related issue is what the city should do with its extra revenues in the electric power revenues fund. The city has some $500,000 extra in that fund now.

However, Councilman Arthur Johnson cautioned that the power fund includes revenues from land sales in the city's business park - it's not just electric sales - and the fund varies considerably from year to year.

"We've had a reluctance to use it in the past because you can't count on it from year to year," Rees agreed.

Councilman Stephen Whitesides said he wants to look at all options and consider public input. He also doesn't want to make the budget too tight by taking too much money away for roads.

Johnson made the motion on the possible tax increase but he also included a stipulation that all the extra revenues from such a tax rise would only be used on roadwork.

The council plans to mail out special information to all residents on the proposed tax increase. A questionnaire may also be included.

Besides roadwork, the city also needs a new fire station, a new library and perhaps even a recreation center.

The special hearing is set for 6 p.m. Tuesday, Aug. 4, in City Hall, 23 E. Center.