Property values down.
Property taxes up.
Once again, beleaguered homeowners are caught in a disorienting trap, as local government agencies ramp up the property tax rate to compensate for a sag in property values and a loss of state support.
The Payson Town Council Thursday night became the latest governing board to raise the property tax rate — although the town’s cut of the property tax bill is so small that most homeowners won’t notice the increase.
The town council voted to raise the rate about half a cent per $100 of assessed valuation to a total of 35 cents per $100.
However, the town will also no longer charge a secondary tax rate, having retired bonds approved by voters several years ago to build additional fire stations — resulting in a net decline in the amount of property tax paid to the town for most taxpayers in Payson.
The town figures the tax rate based on the county assessor’s estimate of the appraised value of all the property in town. That total has declined from nearly $2 billion before the recession set in to $178 million this year. That tally includes a scant $1.3 million in new construction.
The small property tax rate increase will boost the amount of money the town gets from the primary levy from $619,000 to about $624,000. However, last year the town also collected about $72,000 in the secondary levy.
Put it all together — and Payson’s property tax collections will drop from $704,000 this year to $623,000 next year — despite the increase in the rate.
The rate approved by the council puts the town just under the $642,400 maximum primary property tax allowed by state law.
Fortunately for Payson homeowners, property taxes provide only a small portion of the revenue for the $13.5 million general fund budget. The town gets more than half of its operating revenues from sales taxes.