The Central Utah Water Conservation District (CUWCD) is one of the largest water districts in Utah, covering the 8 counties along the southern section of the Wasatch Front. Consequently, their decisions on their tax rate affects many property taxpayers.

When taxpayers receive their property tax notices there are typically about a dozen line items with the amount of tax owed to each entity. Typically, around 60% of taxes due are related to the local school district and the remainder is made up of city, county and other local taxes – including the corresponding water district.

Utah’s nationally recognized gold standard property tax system – Truth in Taxation, is budget driven and not rate driven. That means that the tax rate for a taxing entity floats down as property values increase, so they receive the same amount of revenue as the previous year (plus new growth). If the taxing entity wants to raise their budget any amount over the previous year, they trigger Truth in Taxation notices and public hearings. This ensures that those proposals can be debated  and voted on in public. Elected officials must explain to their constituents why the increased revenue is needed and why they are hiking taxes to fund the increased budget.

Occasionally, elected officials make the claim that they are “only holding the tax rate steady” and therefore, not raising taxes. This is an obvious lie. 

As any person with simple math skills knows, if a value goes up and you maintain the same tax rate, that creates a tax hike. Secondly, as we mentioned before, Utah’s system is budget driven. If a budget increase is proposed, a tax hike is triggered. The tax rate is simply a function of the math to arrive at the proposed budget that is submitted by the taxing entity.

The CUWCD has been repeating that they are “maintaining the same tax rate of .0004” for the last 7 years in a row. Now they recently voted 10-7 in favor of another tax hike for the upcoming budget year. Including this year, they have held their tax rate steady – creating a tax hike – in 2017, 2018, 2019, 2020, 2021, 2022 and 2023.

The CUWCD’s Comprehensive Annual Financial Reports (CAFR) show that their property tax revenues have grown over 100% over the last 7 years:


Property Tax Revenue


$ 52,677,381


$ 55,956,581


$ 61,535,348


$ 67,644,875


$ 73,421,662


$ 80,477,100


$ 88,427,210


$ 103,224,285

2024 (proposed)

$ 110,624,268

This means that the ongoing property tax revenue that the CUWCD collects each year has more than doubled with an increase of $57,946,887 over the last 7 years.

The Board of Trustees of the CUWCD that votes on budget increases recommended by staff is made up of appointed members from each of the 8 counties that CUWCD covers. Those counties include Salt Lake County, Utah County, Duchesne County, Summit County, Wasatch County, Uintah County, Juab County and San Pete County. 

Taxpayers should be asking them – what justifies more than doubling your property tax revenue  over the last 7 years?