AMERICAN FORK Four failed motions made way for a fifth and successful motion Tuesday night, as the American Fork City Council ultimately voted in favor of a property-tax increase.
Councilman Shirl LeBaron made the final motion for a proposed certified property tax increase of slightly more than 9.6 percent and was supported by council members Sherry Kramer and Dale Gunther. Council members Rick Storrs and Heidi Rodeback voted against the measure.
The tax increase is expected to raise $500,000 in revenue for the city, which will be used for a roads repair accrual. Heavy equipment used to install the city's new pressured irrigation system has damaged the sides of a number of roads, a situation not expected and planned for at the outset of the project. The approved tax rate of 0.002426 translates into an increase of about $28 per year for a home assessed at around $240,000.
To get discussion rolling, Mayor Heber Thompson presented a plan to the council that asked for a 8.27 percent tax hike. His proposal called for $250,000 of that money to go toward a roads accrual and $207,000 to pay for the Beehive Park road. The plan ditched money for a full-time library network technician, and suggested the city's costs to complete the Art Dye trail be included in a bond to be put before voters in the November election.
"There's a lot of recreation activity going on in Beehive Park and (the Beehive Park road) is just a disaster waiting to happen," Thompson said. "Emergency vehicles can't function in there and can't get on the road with any speed. ... I insisted, as far as my proposal is concerned, that we include that because it is of dire and immediate importance to do that."
Early in the meeting, a motion by Rodeback to keep the tax rate the same as last year garnered no support from her fellow council members. According to her proposal, the city would have still accumulated more than $200,000 for the roads accrual but suggested the city include the Beehive Park road on one of the bonds voters will see on the November ballot. She said the economic situation of the citizens of the community calls for prudence.
"It's a compromise," Rodeback said. "But it gets us what we need."
Storrs, Kramer and Gunther all offered their own configurations of the tax rate, with Storrs even offering a tax decrease, but none of the motions mustered enough support from the rest of the council. Kramer suggested raising the tax rate enough to bring in a revenue of $600,000 for the roads repair and LeBaron found it courageous, but didn't support it."It's a bold motion, I think you can see the future need and I think there's some prudence in that," LeBaron said. "That's a tough sell, tough."