Kaysville proposes road utility fee


by Becky GINOS

bginos@davisclipper.com

KAYSVILLE—In an effort to cover the rising costs of maintaining roads, Kaysville City is proposing a monthly road utility fee. The city hosted an open house last week to explain the plan to residents. Another meeting will be held tonight, Feb. 1 at 6 p.m. at Kaysville City Hall to further discuss the proposal.

“Roads are paid at a state and local level as a user driven model,” said Kaysville City Council member Jake Garn. “But the gas tax has stayed flat over the last 20 to 30 years and the revenue source hasn’t been raised. Costs have gone up and the question is how do we pay for our roads?”

Cities can’t institute a fuel tax, Garn said. “We can’t really raise sales tax either. That leaves only property tax. That’s why we’re considering a user fee,” he said. “Roads are like water and electricity, they get used up. We don’t have a GPS system that shows that you traveled this many miles on this road so we have to estimate that.”

Garn said the average home generates about 10 trips a day. “If we tie the funding source to roads there is no incentive to grow it, so it’s only used to maintain roads,” he said. “Usage is flexible based on road construction, etc. A road fee has natural controls. A city model user fee is so important.”

Paying higher taxes is never popular, he said. “The fact of the matter is – nobody wants to raise fees. The federal government says, ‘we’re out of that’ and pushes it to the state. Then the state does what they can but they’re not going to shoulder the cost for cities, so they push it down to them, which is why we’re looking at it.”

For residents, the fee could be as low as $7 a month, he said. “We pay $11 for our garbage cans and residents don’t mind because they don’t want to have to take it to the dump themselves,” said Garn. “It’s similar with roads – we use them up.”

But some residents don’t see it that way. “Every business I patronize I will pay that fee again,” said one man. “I pay my $7 but pay it again when I go to a restaurant or at Bowman’s. I don’t just pay $7 – I pay that several times over.”

“This is baloney,” said another resident. “It’s just another way to raise taxes. They’ll spend the money wherever they need it. Then next year they’ll start charging a soda tax.”

“Kaysville doesn’t have the greatest track record of using funds wisely,” said one man. “They must be using that money somewhere else than roads.”

But the council believes it is a viable option. “We’ve seen a lot of community engagement,” said Council member Michelle Barber. “This isn’t just one demographic, it’s all of ours. There’s never a perfect solution. They’ve (city) been talking about this for over a year. Before I was elected I wondered why it was taking so long. Now that I’m here I realized it’s because they want to get it right.”

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