District 1 – August 6 @ 6:00 p.m., City Hall Annex
District 2 – August 6 @ 7:30 p.m., City Hall Annex
District 3 – August 9 @ 6:00 p.m., Millcreek Community Center (2266 East Evergreen Avenue)
District 4 – August 9 @ 7:30 p.m., Millcreek Community Center (2266 East Evergreen Avenue)
Millcreek Town Hall Meeting
July 26, 2018
TAX TRANSFER TO MILLCREEK
My property tax notice says Millcreek is raising taxes by 999%. What’s going on? Surely that’s a mistake, right? In fact, 999% is as high as the county assessor’s computer will allow on the form. The real “truth in taxation” percentage is 3,153.32 %! (Based upon Millcreek’s average home value of $395,145. Your percentage may vary depending upon the valuation of your property and how it may have changed from last year). The newspaper ad Millcreek is required to publish for truth in taxation will use that incredible 3,153.32% figure.
Millcreek decided to leave the Salt Lake Valley Law Enforcement Service Area (SLVLESA) and contract directly with the Unified Police Department (UPD) effective January 2018. SLVLESA is a taxing district created to fund police services when the former “police fee” was discontinued because it was so unpopular. Millcreek left SLVLESA to have better control over the cost and level of our police services. As a result of leaving, we have six more police officers serving our city and we will pay less in property taxes than the rate SLVLESA will be charging.
In 2017, Millcreek residents paid SLVLESA for police services. That line on your taxes is now $ 0.00 and the tax is being charged by the city. Property values fluctuate and the amount UPD charges all of its members has increased due to inflation and paying more to attract and retain officers in a competitive market. Many police departments are trying to hire more officers to fill vacant positions and UPD is no different. However, the taxes the remaining members of SLVLESA will pay this year are even higher, as are the taxes residents of Herriman will pay to start their own police department. Millcreek’s tax rate is .0020120 for 2018. SLVLESA’s is .0021390. Herriman’s is .002378.
My tax notice says I paid $20.15 last year to Millcreek and I will pay $624.45 in 2018, a difference of $605.21. But last year, I paid $602.46 to SLVLESA and that line is now $0.00. My net tax increase for municipal services from Millcreek is $2.76.
The percentage of increase is huge because Millcreek collected only a small amount of property tax in 2017 and now we are paying for our UPD police directly, rather than through the SLVLESA taxing district. So our taxes have not really increased by 3,000%. It just looks like Millcreek is charging a lot more because we have shifted to whom these taxes are paid.
Since Millcreek left SLVLESA, we have been able to increase the number of UPD officers in Millcreek for the same cost, because we were able to discover some accounting errors. Millcreek and the other SLVLESA members were paying more than their fair share for motorcycle police and the narcotics task force. Those problems have now been corrected and Millcreek has 6 more officers on the beat in our city as a result.
While the technical requirements to comply with Utah’s truth in taxation process make it look like you are seeing a huge tax increase by Millcreek, really you are not paying much more than you were before. All of the property taxes that you pay to Millcreek are being used to pay for our UPD police and the costs of financing that contract.
Of course, the taxes you pay to Millcreek are only one part of your property taxes. We cannot control what other taxing entities may do, nor the fluctuations caused by how your property compares in valuation to others in the county year to year. Your mayor and city council are working hard to make prudent financial decisions for the taxpayers in our city. That we have been able to watch not only Millcreek’s budget, but also that of the UPD, to bring more value in police services for such a slight net increase to Millcreek’s portion of your property taxes is consistent with that philosophy.