Tell Me About Budgets
Every property falls under several different taxing entities, which are then grouped together into
a tax area. In that tax area, the budget of each taxing entity is the main force behind the amount
of property tax. Taxing entities are guaranteed the prior year's property tax revenue regardless
of overall property values. This means when property values change, there is neither an increase
nor decrease to their budget.
This makes property tax revenue a very stable source of income, which serves as the foundation of
many taxing entity budgets. If a taxing entity, like a city or a school district, requires a budget
increase over last year, the entity must hold a Truth in Taxation hearing to allow public comment.
The "Truth in Taxation" law requires public notices and public hearings when a taxing entity
proposes an increase in its property tax revenues (not rates) above those collected the previous
year (tax revenues generated by "new growth" in an entity's tax base are exempt from this). The
public hearings are required to allow officials to explain the reasons for the proposed increase
and allow citizens to comment on any proposed increase.
By state law, all of the approximately forty taxing entities in Utah County are obligated to
follow Truth in Taxation each year. Even though Utah County is responsible for collecting the
taxes for each taxing entity, each taxing entity is independent of all the others within the county.
For example, Utah County does not control the budget for the Alpine School District.