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Tax hike concerns expected to draw more people to county budget workshop

November 17th, 2015 Posted in Opinion

By Alix Zelener

A workshop to review the budgets for the Cache County Sheriff’s Department and Attorney’s Office is expected to be well attended by those who are concerned about the prospect of further tax increases.

The workshop, which will begin at 3:30 p.m. today in the Cache County Council Chambers and comes in addition to the regular council schedule, is the first of several meetings that will be held before finalizing next year’s budget.

“These workshops help the council to evaluate all of the departments so we can determine if changes are needed in next year’s budget,” said Craig Buttars, the county executive. “The budget workshop provides county residents with the time and opportunity to interact with council members on budget matters, which are not available during a regular council meeting.”

At recent council meetings, a 1.3 percent increase in county employee salaries and a 5.6 percent increase in employee benefits were discussed. Additionally, the council anticipates a 13.9 percent increase in insurance costs based on new hiring and premium hikes. In total, the currently proposed budget contains a 6.1 percent increase from the 2015 budget.

The council is hoping to raise taxes to fill the gap between anticipated revenues and the proposed budget expenses, but it has been met with opposition.

“I went from making a couple dollars renting out a residential property I own, to losing money because of last year’s tax increase,” said Dewey Richardson, the manager of the Cache County Mall and a local property owner. “Now I have to charge my tenants more, which means they’re going to have less money to spend at the mall, which makes it harder for the mall to pay its increased taxes. It’s all a vicious circle.”

The County Council Chambers are located at the Cache County Historic Court House, 199 North Main, Logan.

-mdl

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