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Lehi Mayor proposes property tax hike, utility rate increases in 2024-25 budget

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It's budget season for Utah municipalities as the 2024-2025 fiscal year approaches on July 1. On Thursday, Lehi City Mayor Mark Johnson released his initial budget proposal for next year. The City Council will review the proposed budget and deliberate over the next six weeks. The City Council has the final say on the adopted budget.

The proposed $350,748,800 budget is up 14.2% from last year's $307,018,940 budget. The City's population estimate increased by 15.6%, from 79,798 residents last year to 92,232 this year. Over the same period, the City issued 834 residential and commercial building permits, making Lehi the ninth-largest City in Utah.

Mayor Johnson is proposing a property tax increase, which would result in about $1 million in revenue for the City. The increase would be approximately $21-24 annually for a median-priced home (about $500,000). “The increased revenue from the [property tax] rate adjustment will fund market-driven adjustments to police and fire salaries as well as an additional employee in the parks department,” said Johnson in his budget proposal.

Along with the proposed tax hike, the budget includes several utility rate increases:

-Pressurized irrigation, 5% increase

-Sewer, 25% increase

-Storm Drain fee, $0.25 increase per month

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-Garbage rates, 3.5% increase

“When considering rates charged to utility customers, several factors are considered, including operational costs, capital needs and external factors outside the City's control. Additionally, comparative rates with neighboring cities are evaluated to consider the reasonableness of the rates Lehi charges,” said Johnson.

The proposed budget includes up to a 4% salary increase for all City staff.

2024-2025 proposed department expenditures include:

-Fire Department: $12,659,977 (Increase of $1,808,040 over last year)

-Police Department: $14,178,080 (Increase of $1,044,224 over last year)

-Parks Department: $5,058,551 (Increase of $743,396 over last year)

Large new expenses include:

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-A new prosecuting attorney: $174,000

-Ambulance equipment: $206,386

-New roof for Hutchings Museum: $369,225

-Sidewalk repairs: $750,000

-Programming at Curtis Center: $266,221

-New larger winter ice rink: $414,435

-Vehicle replacements: $1,500,000

-New Vehicles: $721,765

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Capital projects include:

-Lakeview Park: $2,250,000

-2300 W widening: $7,500,000

-Public works campus: $11,500,000

-West water tank: $2,800,000

The public will have several opportunities to provide feedback to the Mayor and City Council. The first public hearing will be Tuesday, April 9, at 7 p.m.

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