BY JENNIFFER WARDELL
Clipper Staff Writer
CENTERVILLE — For the sake of the city’s roads, Centerville officials are considering an increase in its property tax.
Though it’s not included in the tentative budget, Centerville City Manager Steve Thacker asked the city council to consider adopting an increase in the city’s property tax. The request didn’t ask for a specific percentage increase, though Thacker said that possible options start as low as 10 percent and go as high as 35 percent.
“We’re currently spending $500,000 a year on roads maintenance, and we’re hoping to get that to $1 million,” said Thacker, adding that the 35 percent increase would be needed to reach that goal. “I don’t see the council agreeing to that, but it would help if they’d be willing to chip away at that gap.”
Street maintenance in Centerville is funded by the city’s portion of the Class C Road Fund, which comes from the state’s gas tax. Last year the city received $464, 392 from the fund, a number that has increased by only $54 over the last 10 years. Further streets money comes from the city’s general fund, which is already laboring under the city’s debt obligation to UTOPIA.
“The city hasn’t increased property taxes in the last 20 years,” said Thacker. “Property tax revenue has not kept up with inflation.”
Though the recent increase to Centerville’s Energy Sales and Use Tax will add $150,000 to next year’s roads fund, it closes only a small portion of the funding gap. In the city’s most recent Streets Maintenance Plan, Centerville Public Works officials actually requested that the city spend $1.5 million on sealing cracks, pavement overlays, and road reconstruction.
“It’s unreal to think that (allocating that much money) would be possible,” said Thacker.
Given recent discussion by the Utah State Legislature, any increase at all might prove to be impossible. Facing their own transportation fund shortfalls, the legislature is considering options such as increasing the state’s gas tax or giving counties the option to issue their own gas tax. Either alterative would increase the amount of transportation money received by Centerville.
“I think the council will choose to wait,” said Centerville Mayor Ron Russell.
The council is expected to discuss the request at its May 21 and May 28 budget workshops, and will come to a tentative decision in time for a June 4 public hearing. The final budget will be voted on at the council’s June 18 meeting.