OPPOSITION MOUNTING IN S.L. AGAINST PROPOSED DRAINAGE FEE
THIS IS A PUBLISHED CORRECTION ON MAY 16, 1991, PAGE B1. - A WEDNESDAY, MAY 15, STORY ON SALT LAKE CITY'S PROPOSED RAIN-GUTTER FEE HAD INCORRECT INFORMATION FOR COMMERCIAL, INDUSTRIAL AND APARTMENT PROPERTY OWNERS. A $36 ANNUAL FEE IS PROPOSED FOR EACH 2,500 SQUARE FEET OF ROOF, PARKING LOT OR OTHER WATER-RESISTANT AREA.Opposition is mounting against what some are calling Salt Lake City's largest tax increase in eight years.
Mayor Palmer DePaulis has proposed a drainage fee that would cost the average homeowner $36 per year and raise $4.1 million. But business owners say they would be charged the most.For instance, a three-acre retail store and parking lot would pay about $1,700 per year, according to Howard Stephenson, director of the Utah Taxpayers Association.
Car dealers say they will be hit harder than most, and the cost will be passed to car buyers.
"We feel this is kind of a back-door way of imposing a tax on dealers," said Jerry Hayes, executive president of the Utah Auto Dealers Association. "We're just getting hit from every angle. I don't know where it will end."
DePaulis has proposed charging $36 per year for each household under a quarter-acre and $50 per house for those larger. But commercial businesses would have to pay $36 for every 2,500 square feet. For car dealers, which typically cover large areas, that could get expensive.
But car dealers wouldn't be the only ones effected. Churches, schools, government buildings, the airport and the University of Utah also would have to pay.
DePaulis said the fee is needed to prepare for strict federal standards on the quality of rainwater when it enters the city's drainage system. He also said the city needs to make repairs and build better water facilities.
But Stephenson said the federal government has not yet imposed the standards. He said the new fee would be used to boost the general fund by paying for some leaf removal and engineering services.
"The taxpayers association is extremely concerned about the perpetual tax and fee increases imposed by Salt Lake City," Stephenson said. "If the city is to solve its long-term budget problems, it must stop simply looking for new revenue sources and instead be willing to totally re-examine the way it provides services, including police, fire and public works, which make up the largest parts of the general fund."
Meanwhile, neither side reported any progress in talks to settle a labor dispute between the city and its police union. The city proposed a 1 percent cost-of-living raise plus bonuses and merit raises equaling about 3.75 percent. The union wants a 4 percent cost-of-living raise.
Who'd pay what?
How Salt Lake City's proposed rain-gutter fee plan would affect residents and businesses:Homeowners with less than a quarter-acre - $36 per year
Homeowners with more than a quarter-acre - $50.40 per year
Commercial, industrial and apartment property owners - $36 per year for each 2,500 square feet of roof, parking lot or other water-resistant area.