June 18, 2001

RE: Salt Lake County Sheriff’s Proposed $4.5 Million Tax

CONTACT: Wes Quinton, Vice President, 801-972-8814 or 801-550-8390.

Sheriff’s Tax Hike Unnecessary

Sheriff Loses 75% of Territory But Wants to Maintain Original Budget

June 18, 2001, Salt Lake City, Utah–The Utah Taxpayers Association argues that granting the Salt Lake County Sheriff’s request for an additional $4.5 million property tax increase would be a misuse of taxpayer money. “He’s not asking for improved public safety. He’s asking to waste our tax dollars,” said Wes Quinton, Utah Taxpayers Association Vice President.

“Why should the Sheriff’s Investigative Services have the same budget and staff as last year when it has to provide investigative services to only 1/4 of the population it did previously? The Sheriff’s Investigative Services budget should have been cut $9.2 million. Mayor Workman is generous in leaving him with $3.1 million. That is still 1/3 of the money for 1/4 the population,” explained Mr. Quinton.

Salt Lake County taxpayers are already scheduled for large tax increases even without the Sheriff’s proposal. All county taxpayers will be hit with a $7.7 million property tax increase in the general fund. The 23% of county residents who live in the unincorporated area will be hit with another $7.7 million increase. If the Sheriff gets his way, there will be another $4.5 million tax hike on top of that.

To an owner of a $200,000 home in unincorporated Salt Lake County, including the Sheriff’s demands, they will see a $155 property tax increase. “This is on top of the $1,580 in property taxes the home owner already pays.” A business owner of a $200,000 business, who now pays $2872, would see a $283 tax increase.

The reason the Sheriff’s budget is in question is because of SB 168 and its efforts to eliminate double taxation of police investigative services by the Salt Lake County Sheriff. Cities argued that their own police departments already provided investigative services so their residents should not be taxed for the service again by the county. The Sheriff says that all of the $9.2 million reduction in the general fund was to be made up by a $9.2 million increase in the county’s Municipal Services fund.

“If we are to truly solve the issue of double taxation for duplicate investigative services, then Mayor Workman is on the right track with her current budget reductions to the Sheriff’s department,” commented Mr. Quinton.

The Sheriff’s Investigative Service Budget has increased by more than 100% since 1990 while the population. “Looking at non-jail Sheriff personnel, you only have 331 deputies out of a total of 724 employees. The department is obviously top heavy,” said Mr. Quinton.