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Get out calculator, figure your share of city's debt
It's easy if you know population, G.O. bond total

You're probably not one of those people who sits around worrying about your theoretical share of your city's debt load.

But if you are curious, it's easy to figure so grab a calculator and divide the population of your city or town into the amount of money your community owes on general obligation bonds, which are guaranteed by a government entity's taxing authority.North Salt Lake residents, that means you must divide the city's $6.91 million in G.O. debt by its population of 8,750.

Click, click. That figures out to be $789.71 for every man, woman and young 'un in town.

For Clearfield residents, the per capita debt figure is $576.92. Click, click and click again. American Fork residents are close behind at $572.73 per person.

But don't panic. Nobody's coming to your house to collect. Your city or town is still responsible to see the debt gets paid.

Those per capita figures would be even larger if you threw in your community's revenue bond debt, but that's not a good calculation.

General obligation debt is a commitment of your property taxes to help pay back a bond, and it's backed by your community's good faith and credit.

Revenue bond debt, on the other hand, is tied to a specific stream of revenue that has been set aside to pay back that debt. Water or sewer fees, possibly, or lease payments.

So your "share" in the latter case would actually be a long-term commitment of certain fees rather than a share of municipal debt.

But 21 out of 40 Wasatch Front counties, cities and towns surveyed by the Deseret News recently don't have any general obligation bonds outstanding -- so the per capita debt share for their residents would figure out at zero.

Among the other 19 that do have outstanding G.O. debt, residents' per capita debt ranges from a high of $1,355.55 in Utah County's Salem to a low of $1.25 in Layton.

Folks in larger communities tend to fare better with this kind of calculation because big populations spread out the debt more.

In Salt Lake City, where there are about 178,000 people to divide into the $26.18 million in G.O. bonds still outstanding, per capita debt works out to be $147.07.

That's about the same as Farmington, however, with $1.8 million in G.O. debt and about 12,000 people for a per capita figure of $150.

Sandy, on the other hand, with $7.01 million in G.O. debt divided among a population of 100,000, comes in at about $70 per person.

Six of the cities surveyed have no outstanding general obligation or revenue bond debt.

Those include Alta, Bluffdale, Taylorsville, Fruit Heights, Sunset and West Point.