BY TOM BUSSELBERG
FARMINGTON — No property tax hike is included in the tentative budget or anticipated for the final budget to be presented to the public Dec. 4 at 6 p.m. at the County Administration Building.
“We’re still a little bit under the pre-recession level” as far as growth, said Jonathan Lee, Finance Director in the County Clerk/Auditor’s Office Thursday.
He explained the tentative budget prior to the County Commission’s approval.
Copies of the $101.6 million budget will be available for review Nov. 21 at the Auditor’s Office on the first floor and Commission Office on the third floor of the County Administration Building.
Revenues “dipped about $1 million” following the financial crisis that hit in 2007 and has lingered since, Lee said.
Among the positive signs: sales taxes are up $850,000 over last year; tourism taxes for hotel stays, restaurants and car rentals have gone up $425,000; and property taxes are up by 1.9 percent, reflecting new growth, or $890,000. In addition, fees paid to the County Recorder’s office are up by $300,000, he said.
There will also be a reduction of about 15 full-time employee equivalent positions, mostly due to closure at year’s end of the County Vehicle Inspection & Maintenance Center in Kaysville.
Reflecting on the county’s financial strength, Clerk/Auditor Steve Rawlings said $5 million in tax anticipation notes were borrowed in 1991. That accounted for 41 percent of property tax revenues.
A similar amount was borrowed this year, accounting for 10.6 percent of all property taxes. Those bonds are repaid after receipt of property taxes by year’s end and the first part of the following year.
“The costs to do that are actually very minimal. We could actually make some money” on the process, Rawlings said.
“Funding for some departments went down,” said Curtis Koch, Chief Deputy/Finance in the Clerk’s Office.
“A lot of time and effort goes into the budget process,” said County Commission Chair Bret Millburn. “Davis County has been recognized on a state and national level as being very well run.
“Our philosophy and mind set is that when times are good we continue on, don’t get extravagant. When the economy turns bad, we work to continue providing the services people rely on. We’re a steady Eddie,” he said.
“This is a way for us to catch a window into what is going on in each department,” County Commissioner Louenda Downs said. “We are trying to provide as much as possible on a shoestring (budget). We run relative flat, conservatively, and will continue to be that way.”