What is the Certified Tax Rate?
The Certified Tax Rate is a mechanism put in place by the state of Utah to protect taxpayers. Property values can climb through a number of factors. As the value of your home goes up, so do your taxes. This program re-evaluates the values of homes and the rate of property taxes on an annual basis to keep the money collected by taxing entities such as Wasatch County School District, at a consistent level. For example, if property values county-wide increased by 20% in a single year and there was not adjustment to the tax rate, the school district would receive a 20% increase in their revenue stream. Instead, the Certified Tax Rate is used to adjust everyone’s taxes downward to keep the taxes collected at the same basic level as the year before. Only a citizen-approved increase (such as a school bond) or an increase imposed by the school district at a Truth in Taxation hearing, can raise the tax rates for homeowners. Likewise, in a recessionary period, if values of homes decrease, the Certified Tax Rate would increase home-owners taxes to provide adequate funding for the school district.
How much will the increase in the Certified Tax Rate raise my taxes?
The Certified Tax Rate increase will raise home-owners taxes $11.04 per hundred thousand dollars of property value.
Why is this increase in the Certified Tax Rate necessary?
This increase in taxes is needed to pay the costs of staffing and equipping the new schools approved by voters last fall.
My home was reappraised by the county assessor this past year and my taxes seem way out of line. Is there anything that I can do about it?
If you feel that your property has been incorrectly valued, there is an option available for you. Wasatch County has an appeal process with the County Board of Equalization. The deadline for an appeal this year is September 16, 2016 at 5:00 p.m. Information about this process can be found on your tax notice received from Wasatch County.
My home was not reappraised last year. Does that mean that I will see a big jump in taxes next year?
Not necessarily. The county is on a five-year rotation for reassessment of the properties in the valley. Depending on when your last appraisal has been, it can be up to 4 years before your property is reassessed. However, if there has been significant movement in the value of properties in your neighborhood, the county sometimes shorten the times between assessments, so your rotation may be less than 5 years.
How often does the county reappraise our homes?
The general rule is once every 5 years. However, that time period can be shortened if there is significant change in property values in your neighborhood.
Is there any way that we can better manage our money to pay these bonds off quicker?
Wasatch County School District is well known across the state for the outstanding way they manage their budgets. That is the reason that the district has an Aa3 rating with Moody's. It is also why they were able to collect a $6.7 million premium on the sale of last year’s bonds. That premium was paid because lenders know that their money is secure with Wasatch County School District and they wanted to be the ones who purchased the bond. That provided $6.7 million towards the new buildings that does not need to be repaid.
Wasatch County School District looks for opportunities to move existing bonds to lower interest rates. On several occasions, bonds have been refinanced to either lower the bond rate or to shorten the life of the bond; sometimes both goals have been accomplished with one financial move. The business administrator has been responsible for eliminating years of bond debt by aggressively watching rates and refinancing when there is an advantage for the district.
Leadership in the Wasatch County School District partners with outstanding professionals in the finance world to make certain that they are following current best practice methods. They also constantly look for ways to make the most of each tax dollar collected.