Murray holds truth in taxation hearing; approves budgetSep 04, 2022 10:45AM ● By Shaun Delliskave
Murray City approved $3.3 million in road projects for this coming budget year. (Photo courtesy of Murray City)
By Shaun Delliskave | [email protected]
Murrayites can expect a 15% increase in property taxes this year, a modest increase as compared to previous years. The Murray City Council approved the tax increase by a three-to-two vote at the Aug. 9 Truth in Taxation meeting. For the average city residence assessed at $523,000, the tax increase will be $56.38 per year or $4.70 per month.
One frequent misconception residents have about their tax assessment is that Murray City is responsible for the entire amount of the property tax.
According to Murray City Budget Director Brenda Moore, “You’re probably worried that the 15% is going to be on that full $1,200 bill. It’s not. It will be on the Murray section of that $1,200 bill you get. If you live within the school district boundary, Murray School District and other schools get about 57 cents of every dollar you pay in property tax (Granite School District residents pay 59 cents per dollar). Salt Lake County gets approximately 19 cents. Murray City gets 16 cents. The library gets 4, and other small entities get the other 4 cents.”
Over 90 separate government entities in Utah considered property tax hikes this year. Most residents in Salt Lake County can depend on seeing their taxes rise, with South Salt Lake seeking the most dramatic hike at 109%. Jordan School District residents could expect to pay $1,733 on their portion of the tax bill alone.
“Murray was 12th out of all the cities for property tax levy rate. I feel we’re going to remain 12th because most of the people (local governments) are asking for property tax increases,” Moore said.
By far, the biggest driver in the budget is public safety salaries. To keep and recruit police and fire employees, the personnel budget for Public Safety has increased 17%, or $3.2 million, since the last property tax increase, $2 million of which occurred between FY2022 and FY2023.
“In 2018, the last property tax increase of 45%. The city was asked (by residents, according to Moore) over and over again to do frequent, smaller increases. Due to the pandemic, we have not done that for the last three years. This year we decided that there’s just no way we could postpone it another year and not do at least some property tax increase,” Moore said.
Property values in Murray have skyrocketed. In 2020, the total taxable property in Murray City was $5.5 billion. Only 18 months later, those values increased to $7.7 billion.
“Sales tax accounts for the largest part of our revenue, or 39%. Property tax is 19%, and then there’s a whole bunch of charges for services and all the other stuff. In a perfect world, it would be 50/50,” Moore said.
So, what is the situation regarding Murray City’s sales tax growth?
“Taxation sales tax can be very volatile right now. I haven’t seen the last figures for 2022, but we’re OK for last year,” Moore said.
After granting the tax rate increase, the city council approved the city’s budget. City employees will receive a 7% cost of living increase, and the city will hire another police officer, streets crewmember, recreation coordinator, and two theater employees.
The new city hall bond payment at $1.8 million will be among the most significant budget items. Other capital projects include $5.2 million for the Murray Theater, $3.3 million for street projects, $1.2 million for a park storage building, and $1 million for a new ambulance and other fire equipment.
Murray’s annual budget can be found online at murray.utah.gov.