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Canyons School District proposes tax increase

Published: Thursday, July 23 2009 12:00 a.m. MDT

The freshly formed Canyons School District is proposing its first tax increase to generate $4.15 million for its $200 million budget for the 2009-2010 school year.

The proposed tax increase would mean an additional $46 for the owner of a $311,000 home which is the median home price in Canyons District.

Canyons officials said the bulk of the funds collected by the proposed increase – $3.8 million — would go for the countywide capital equalization law.

Canyons District, along with Murray, Granite and Salt Lake City school districts, all in Salt Lake County, will contribute funds. The money will help the rapidly growing Jordan School District pay to construct new school buildings.

The capital equalization law, which came out of the 2008 session of the Legislature, goes into effect this fiscal year.

Canyons board plans to vote on the proposed 3.8 percent tax increase at its meeting Aug. 4, after a 7 p.m. Truth in Taxation hearing during which the public can voice opinions. The hearing will be at the new district offices, 9150 S. 500 West in Sandy.

Keith Bradford, Canyons District CFO, noted the legal notice that will be published in today's newspapers may appear alarming to the public — a 100 percent tax increase. Because the district did not become a legal taxing entity until July 1, it currently does not have an official certified tax rate. The Salt Lake County Assessors Office will determine the certified tax rate based on the district's approved budget before property tax notices go out this fall.

Canyons District representatives notified news agencies Wednesday of the proposed tax increase for the purpose of announcing the upcoming hearing and also clearing up any public confusion.

"We want to be upfront with the public. We want people to know about our school district. We want to provide information and be transparent," said Canyons District spokeswoman Jennifer Toomer-Cook.

In November 2007, east-side residents voted to leave Jordan District and form their own school district. The west side remains as Jordan district. The Canyons District is comprised of Cottonwood Heights, Sandy, Midvale, Alta and Draper.

The Jordan District includes Bluffdale, Herriman, Riverton, South Jordan and West Jordan, as well as the township of Copperton.

e-mail: astewart@desnews.com

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