A huge crowd turned out Tuesday to a public hearing called by the Cache County Council to propose a budget that includes a property tax increase. If approved at a later meeting, the budget would increase by 6.1 percent.
That would mean an increase of $13.18 per year on a home valued at $201,000 and $23.96 per year hike on a business.
County Executive Craig Buttars was unable to attend the meeting but Finance Director Cameron Jensen said the budget calls for a 1.3 percent increase in overall salaries, a 5.6 percent for increase in benefits with an insurance increase rate of 13.9 percent.
Jensen reminded council members that a 10 percent tax increase was first proposed for 2014 because of diminishing reserves.
“At the end, before the budget was passed, instead of doing a 10 percent increase,” Jensen said, “they voted on a five percent tax increase with the understanding that in 2014 we would do, for 2015, an additional five percent tax increase.
“Instead, we held off and did no additional tax increase. But even with the five percent that we did, 2014 still spent all of its current revenues plus over $300,000 out of fund reserves.”
Jensen said that 2015 calls for over $1 million to be spent out of the reserve account.
One of the many who spoke out against the increase was Rowan Cecil of Providence.
“I didn’t get a salary increase to cover my medical expenses,” Cecil said. “This was uncalled for. I doubt that anybody here got a salary increase to cover the medical expenses under Obamacare.
“Yes, there has been a drop in the average income throughout the nation since Obama arrived and it has gotten as bad here as any other place. Budget within your income. Don’t budget and then ask for the income. Do it the way we do it at home.”
The total amount of the proposed increase is $659,000. A budget hearing has been scheduled for Tuesday, November 17 starting at 3:30 p.m. in the council chambers.