City Council members Tuesday night joined other councils and government bodies along the Wasatch Front in discussion of the three tax initiatives on the November ballot.
City Manager Bret Wahlen described the formula that would be used to calculate cities' taxation limits if one of the three initiatives passes and said all three initiatives, if passed, would cut cities' funding.The amount of the cuts and where the cuts would be made were not clear to anyone at the meeting nor was the time when the limitations would become effective, if they pass, councilmen said.
Wahlen said 60 percent of the city's general-fund budget goes to pay for police and fire protection and the street department. He said budget cuts would probably hurt the counties more than any other entity at first and many of the counties' services, if cut back or eliminated, would affect cities that would probably be expected to provide these former county services.
Woods Cross is very efficient, he said. The average homeowner only pays $19.87 a month for city services, including $6.50 for water, $6.90 for garbage collection and $6.47 for property taxes, which help to pay for all other services. Sales taxes also help pay for city services, he said.
Of major concern, he said, is the proposition that, if passed, would require a citywide election if any increase in city fees is sought. Wahlen said having to hold an election every time the city wants to raise garbage fees or water fees "slows down the process of government" because the city administration would not only have to hold an election, but would have to educate the public about the issues on which they are being asked to vote. The elections would be expensive, too, he added.
"Constituents don't believe us when we tell them they will be hurt if the tax initiatives pass," Wahlen said.
Not all the councilmen agreed. Councilman David H. Wright Jr. said he believes the initiatives may be a good idea. "It would be great if the people could become involved in government. It would be real democracy in action. We'd probably need a lot more volunteers to get jobs done in the city, but I don't believe we'd have trouble getting help," Wright said.