West Valley City Considers Tax Hike to Fill Budget Gap

(KCPW News) West Valley City is considering a property tax increase of more than 18 percent to balance its 2012 budget. Earlier this year, the city forecast a $7.5 million budget gap, but was able to shrink it down to $3.5 million through budget cuts and hiring freezes. Mayor Mike Winder says he hates tax increases, and knows it’s going to be a hard sell to residents.

“I think all elected officials look at what their bosses, the people, want when you consider a tax increase. And we have city council races up this year as well, so absolutely it’s a factor.” Winder says. We are going to enter the discussions with eyes wide open to all the different possibilities, so at this point I’m not ruling anything out either way.”

West Valley City Manager Wayne Pyle says he would use the word “critical” to describe the need for the tax hike. Residents are invited to learn more about the city’s budget at a series of open houses he’s hosting.

“You give them the choice, do you want to increase or decrease your services and therefore the level of quality of life in the city that you have, they have a better understanding for what it is you’re presenting for them and then they make the judgment from there.” He says. “I don’t believe that we’re going to convince everybody that we should be doing a property tax increase, but I definitely believe that it’s the right thing to do.”

The open houses take place tomorrow July 13th and August 3rd, all starting at 5 p.m. at West Valley City Hall. Mayor Winder and the city council will take a vote on the measure at the next council meeting on August 9th. The increase would amount to $5.87 per month on a home valued at $185,000, while businesses would pay $10.68.