The Utah County Commission has decided to dust off the budget-cutting knife to make up a $297,000 mid-year shortfall rather than exceed the certified property tax rate set for the county by the state.

By making budget cuts, commissioners avoided having to exceed the certified tax rate. The county's certified tax rate, however, rose slightly in keeping with a slight hike in the state rate.County Auditor Bruce Peacock said a reduction in property value prompted the local rate hike, from .002038 to .002080. He said the state allows counties to generate as much revenues in the current year as the past year. If property values decrease, he said, a county may hike its tax rate to generate the same revenue it did the previous year.

"We're not trying to raise more dollars, we're just trying to raise the same dollars," Peacock said. "We're staying within the certified rate."

He said most people won't notice any difference in their property taxes.

A public hearing would have been required had the commission decided to exceed the state certified tax rate. By making budget cuts, however, the county was able to make up the $297,000 shortfall.

"On a $17 million budget, that's really not that large of an adjustment," Peacock said.

The largest shortfalls came in the public works department, where $100,000 worth of road construction contracts for the Forest Service didn't materialize. The county also received $110,000 less than it had anticipated receiving by selling its old computer, and received none of the $73,000 it had budgeted for in revenue sharing.

Commission Chairman Malcolm Beck said reductions included a $23,000 cut in the commission's budget. "That's why we're only here part time now," he joked.

This year's $17.1 million budget originally was about 3 percent, or $500,000, less than last year's $17.6 million budget. The latest cuts reduce the budget further to $16.8 million.