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Commission approves tax increase for county

By COREY BLUEMEL, Staff writer

On April 10, the Emery County commissioners, along with David Blackwell, the county attorney and Brenda Dugmore, the county clerk, were at the Sheriff's Office building in Green River to receive comments on a proposed increase in the sales and use tax. Millard, Kane and Emery counties are three of Utah's 29 counties that did not impose a .25 percent increase which was first authorized in 1998.

This year, the Utah Legislature enacted Section 59-12-1802 which authorizes the State to impose the tax if the county does not impose it. In that event, the revenue generated from the tax would go to the State until the county passes an ordinance to impose the tax.

With the May 25 deadline looming, the county officials held the public hearings that are required before this tax can be imposed. At the Green River Public hearing, no residents were present and no public comments were were heard. Members of the press voiced their support of the tax increase. The .25 percent increase will not actually raise taxes per se. There will be a .25 percent decrease in the property tax to offset the tax increase.

The second public hearing was held on April 17 at the Emery County Commission meeting. Commissioner Drew Sitterud said, "If we do adopt this tax increase it will result in no new money for the county. The tax will be offset by taking the increase off the property values. One of the public hearings had to be after 6 p.m. and that was held in Green River," said Commissioner Sitterud.

Lt. Bill Downard spoke in favor of adopting the increase. "We might as well keep the money here in the county," said Downard. Public Lands Council chairman Bruce Wilson also voiced his support of the increase. Republican party chairman Bill Dellos said he was also in favor of the increase.

The commission came out of their public hearing and voted to enact the tax increase. The tax increase will take effect on Jan. 1, 2008. Within 15 days of the passing of the ordinance, notification must be put in the paper advising the county residents that the ordinance has been passed.

The new ordinance says: In addition to all other taxes imposed, the county hereby imposes the sales and use tax of .25 percent of 1 percent. This tax is imposed upon all sales and uses made in the county, including sales and uses made within the cities and towns. All revenues collected shall be revenues of Emery County.

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