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SALT LAKE CITY — Salt Lake County residents face a jump in property taxes next year if Mayor Peter Corroon's 2013 budget passes.
The outgoing mayor outlined his $788 million spending plan Thursday, saying no one likes to raise taxes, but sometimes it's necessary. If passed, the hike would be Salt lake County's first property tax increase in 12 years. On average, the increase would be about $64 a year per household, or $5.33 a month.
A public hearing about the proposal will be held on Dec. 11 at 4 p.m. at the Salt Lake City Council Chambers.
The Utah Taxpayers Association is currently going through every line of Corroon's 512-page budget proposal. Vice President Royce Van Tassell says people are already calling.
"It's really hard to understand how they can justify such a massive tax increase," Tasell said. "We have already heard from folks who are upset. We had phone calls into our office yesterday within hours of the announcement."
Corroon says the county has experienced significant population growth in the last decade, which has in turn put increased demand on services. But, thanks to the tough economy, the funding couldn't keep up.
"It's not a huge amount, but anytime you raise taxes people get angry," Corroon said. "For the prior 12 years, we've been essentially cutting back, really being efficient and tight about spending money, it just came time to raise taxes. When it's time, it's time."
Without a tax hike, Corroon says the county would have needed to cut 10 percent to balance the budget next year.
"In order to do the basics, we had to do this," Corroon said.
The taxpayers association disagrees.
"Salt lake county is by far the most expensive county in terms of taxes for the services you get of any county in the state," Tassell said.
No matter what the final budget is, it won't be Corroon's to deal with. Mayor-elect Ben McAdams will inherit it. He's not saying much for now, but says he'll be asking plenty of questions as the process continues, along with many others.
"We're working with the council and will work with the mayor-elect McAdams to identify ways to avoid this massive tax hike," Tassell said.