Payson Tax Rate Reduced, Town Budget Approved

Council budget trims spending by 8 percent

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The Payson Council Thursday adopted a bare-bones budget for the upcoming fiscal year that cut spending by about 8 percent and reduced the town's property tax rate.

The final, adopted, $36-million budget made minor changes in spending from previous versions, and reduced the property tax rate so it would yield the same $650,000 in revenue despite an overall rise in assessed value.

The final spending plan trimmed about $3 million from this year's spending levels. That polished off the town's rainy day fund and left an almost invisible $300,000 contingency fund for the upcoming year.

The budget includes a hiring freeze that applies to every department except police and the elimination of overtime in every department except police and fire -- which in any case account for the bulk of the overtime.

The budget reduced spending on salaries and benefits by 3 percent to $13.5 million. It also cut 5 percent from capitol projects, for a total of $8.6 million. That figure rose from the preliminary budget adopted nearly a month ago.

On the other hand, the operating budget will increase about 2 percent to $10.3 million and the cost of debt service will rise about 4 percent to $1.3 million.

The town reduced the primary property tax rate from about 25 cents for each $100 of assessed valuation to about 22.3 cents per $100.

That means the primary tax rate will yield just under $500,000, the rate at which the town would have to hold a series of public hearings before approving an increase. The budget also cut the secondary tax rate to repay bonds from about 9 cents per $100 of assessed value to about 6 cents.

The secondary property tax rate will still yield about $150,000.

Property owners whose homes increased significantly in assessed value may see a small increase in property tax payments. Homeowners whose assessed value didn't change should see a property tax decrease.

The budget assumes that total revenues will remain essentially flat in the upcoming fiscal year, after declining by about $3 million this year.

Projected changes in town revenue include:

-- A $686,000 increase in total taxes to $12.1 million.

-- A $138,000 increase in revenue from licenses and fees to $697,000.

-- A $123,000 increase in intergovernmental transfers to $670,000.

-- A $103,000 increase in charges for services to $262,000.

-- A $38,000 increase in fines to $204,000.

-- A $1.2 million overall increase in revenue to $14.4 million.

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