LOGAN Reluctant to confuse voters, the Logan Municipal Council postponed voting on a sales-tax hike to fund Cache Valley's bus system.
The Cache Valley Transit District had asked the council to increase the transit tax to 0.3 percent from 0.25 percent. The district's general manager Todd Beutler said the increase is needed to make up for revenue lost when the state Legislature eliminated sales taxes on unprepared foods earlier this year.
On Tuesday, residents of Logan and other Cache County cities will vote on a proposition to raise the transit tax another 0.25 percent. Councilwoman Tami Pyfer said voters might not understand why they are being asked to raise the transit tax again.
Pyfer suggested that the council postpone voting on the sales-tax hike until after Election Day. Councilman Joe Needham called the vote "bad timing," and on Tuesday, nobody seconded Councilwoman Laraine Swenson's motion to increase the tax.
The council had wanted to vote before Nov. 1, which would have allowed the tax increase to go into effect Jan. 1. Curtis Roberts, the transit district's finance director, said the delay could cost the bus system $105,000 in anticipated revenue.
The ballot proposition faces strong opposition. The leadership of the Cache County Republican Party voted unanimously in September to oppose the transit-tax increase, and County Attorney George Daines has campaigned against it and urged the Logan Municipal Council to oppose it.
Logan council members, however, declined last month to oppose or endorse it. The Cache Chamber of Commerce's board of directors also voted in September against taking a stand on the tax.
But the chamber's board unanimously endorsed another ballot proposition that would also raise sales taxes 0.25 percent, generating $3 million to buy rights of way and build new roads throughout the county.
Many see the road-tax and transit-tax ballot measures as competing proposals, reflecting different visions of Cache Valley's future.Opponents of the road-tax proposition contend building more streets would increase air pollution and lead to urban sprawl, while proponents say the transit district is inefficient, and building new roads is the best way to alleviate Cache County's growing traffic problems.