Saturday, November 24, 2007

What did Weber Co. need all our Property Taxes for?

Hola Wingmen and ladies,

Here is one possible explanation since they have not bothered to tell us....
(Source: Weber County Tentative Budget for 2008,
Bet you have not spent any time reading the Weber County Tentative Budget for 2008 have you? Here is a quick run-down for all you still suffering from turkey coma and pie overload.
-Weber County received $803,000 (3.5%) in "new revenues" from Property Taxes.
-Also $466,000 in new revenues from Sales Taxes. ($1,269,000 Total in new tax revenues)
-They are giving themselves (all employees of the County) a 4% increase in salaries. 2% Merit raise, plus 2% for cost of living increase raises. That is costing us $799,000 for their "merit raises", plus another $876,000 in "COLA" increases. Total $1,675,000 in raises. How bout that folks? The Commissioners not only charged us big time ($3 Million) to accurately assess us, they are rewarding themselves for having done such a great job to boot! So if your appeal gets a short shrift and is "disapproved" now ya know!

-Also a 5.1% increase in health insurance premiums ($300,000) we pay for. Total raise package $1,975,000. Fine, if you think they deserve it.
-Our elected County Commissioners are spending $2,239,000 on new equipment and vehicles.
-The Commissioners are spending $6,500,000 on another new library in Washington Terrace. (at a time when everything is being scanned and stored digitally on-line? Are libraries becoming obsolete?).
-And $902,000 on capital improvement projects. Ogden Valley will see a massive one six-hundred fifty-sixth (1/656th) our taxes spent by our Commissioners directly to support us here in Ogden Valley.
The North Ogden Divide is planned to get $65,000 worth of "safety work" done on it.
And tentatively Moose Hollow will perhaps get curbs/roadway worth ($20,350).
How much in taxes did our Commissioners drag in for predominantly Ogden Metro area expenditures you ask? $19,126,290 Property Taxes
$ 9,318,401 Sales Taxes
$ 3,087,696 Assessing & Collecting
$ 1,082,252 Delinquent Taxes
$23,401,447 "Other Revenue", Fees, Permits, fines, forfeitures, etc.
$56,016,086 Total Taxes, fees, etc.
And finally, our elected Commissioners are spending $122,963 of RAMP (that's an acronym for "recreation, arts, parks, and museums which defines what our tax money can be used for) grant money on construction of the Washington Terrace (?) library? So much for honesty and ethics in government. Libraries are their own taxing entity separately charging us taxes at about $180 each household a year.

"These reports are derived from the individual department budget requests, adjusted for items discussed with each department during your budget hearings. After adjusting the budgets, per your (sic Commissioners) direction, we are able to present to you balanced budgets for all funds with no tax increase." Alan D McEwan, CPA, Clerk/Auditor

If you believe all this is just fine. Stay at home on the 6th of December during the Tentative Budget public hearing. If not join me at the County Chambers and speak up if you can and are willing to become involved. The State process calls it a Tentative Budget for a reason. If there are enough objections to register, the Commissioners will change the budget. Changes will be in the final Budget presented on December 11.
Minor Machman

Complete transmittal letter of tentative budget follows:

To the Honorable Board of County Commissioners:
In accordance with Title 17, Chapter 36, Section 10 of the Utah Code, we submit to you the 2008 tentative budget for all Weber County funds and departments. These reports are derived from the individual department budget requests, adjusted for items discussed with each department during your budget hearings. After adjusting the budgets, per your direction, we are able to present to you balanced budgets for all funds with no tax increase. The tentative budget includes the following significant items:
• Merit increases of approximately 2% for all county employees, including exempt employees, elected officials, and
department heads, at a cost of $799,000. Also included are a 2% cost-of-living increase for all employees, at a cost of
$876,000, and a 5.1% increase in employee health insurance premiums, at a cost of $300,000. Retirement rates for next
year did not change.
• For the General Fund, estimated new revenues from property and sales taxes of 3.5% or $803,000 and 5.0% or
$466,000, respectively. This revenue growth does not include a tax increase and is possible because of Weber County’s
continued solid economic performance. Most other revenue estimates in the General Fund are either flat or lower than
2007, including recording fees, road service charges, and homeland security grants.
• Adjustments to departments’ staffing levels as follows:
􀂃 Assessor’s Office – added one full-time and two part-time positions
􀂃 Elections – added one part-time position
􀂃 Animal Control – added one part-time position
􀂃 USU Extension Service – replaced one vacant full-time position with a contract for services from USU
􀂃 Five departments have upgraded existing positions to better reflect the responsibilities of those positions
• $939,000 for various equipment purchases and $902,000 for various capital improvement projects. Additionally, another
$1.3 million will replace approximately 54 vehicles in the Fleet Management Fund.
• $178,000 to increase the county’s contract with the Convention and Visitor’s Bureau including an additional $18,000
toward the ski bus transportation initiative begun last year. Increased funding comes from a portion of the increase to the
transient room tax enacted in January 2007.
• A capital budget of approximately $6.5 million for completion of the new library branch building in Washington
Terrace. Costs will be paid with a combination of sales tax revenue bonds, donations, and existing fund balance from the
Library Fund. This project is expected to be completed in the fall of 2008.
A number of items requested by departments have not yet been funded. We understand that discussions regarding these additional
requests may continue and that changes may be made to this tentative budget before you adopt the final version. Before adoption
of the final budget, the Commission is required to adopt a tentative budget and hold a public hearing to allow all interested parties
to comment on the budget. The tentative budget must be adopted at least 10 days prior to the public hearing, and the final budget
must be adopted before December 31, 2007. We therefore propose the following schedule:
Adoption of Tentative Budget.................................................................. October 30, 2007
Public Hearing on Tentative Budget .......................................................December 6, 2007
Adoption of Final Budget......................................................................December 11, 2007
We acknowledge the Commissioners’ responsibility and authority in the budget process, and we desire to provide you sufficient
information to assist you in any further deliberations you may have before adopting the final budget.
Alan D. McEwan, CPA

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