Kanab Mayor Robert Houston invited Kanab residents to a special meeting on May 22 to outline and answer questions about Kanab’s 2014-2015 fiscal year budget. Approximately two dozen citizens attended the evening meeting.

Houston immediately addressed the subject of the circulating rumor he attributed to the Kane County Taxpayers Association of a property tax increase. “There has not been any discussion of a Kanab City property tax increase by the city council and any notion contrary to this is misleading,” stated Houston.

Some confusion regarding the property tax issue concerned a general obligation tax to fund the new Kanab fire station in 1991. This generated $25,000 per fiscal year through the 2013-2014 budget, which ends September 1. That debt has now been retired and is not factored into the 2014-2015 budget at this time.

The city would like to continue collecting the $25,000 to help fund projects in city-owned facilities like the parks, Heritage Museum and Heritage House that benefit residents and visitors of Kanab. This would not increase property tax rates over what they have been since 1999, when there was actually a tax rate reduction, according to Houston.

Keeping the $25,000 on the books, which City Manager Joe Decker said would require a public hearing, equates to a $5 tax/$100,000 market value ($55,000 taxable value) on a home and $9/$100,000 taxable value on a business.  If not maintained, it would decrease the tax owed similarly.

When this reporter asked those in attendance if they would support keeping the $25,000 revenue in effect to be used for public facility improvements, everyone commenting, including County Commissioner Dirk Clayson, favored retaining it, as it does not result in a tax increase and would benefit public facilities. 

Houston commented that Kanab has one of the lowest property taxes in Utah and one of the highest sales taxes at 7.95 percent. Tourists pay much of the sales tax revenue.

Total revenues estimated for this fiscal year are $2,323,262, with expenditures totaling $2,131,018, leaving a year-end balance of $748,776 (including a beginning balance of $556,533). Revenue projected for fiscal year 2014-2015 is $2,815,845, with expenditures of $2,780,411, leaving a balance of $784,210.

Houston maintained that no monies have been loaned to the city’s General Fund from the independent Water and Sewer Fund that have not been repaid, and that the city does not want to touch money in this fund, which now totals nearly $3 million.

Mayor Houston asked those in attendance what would be on their “Wish List” for the city.  Responses included,  “maintaining what you have now,” “enforcing nuisance ordinances,” and “sponsoring city clean-up days.”

The audience thanked Mayor Houston for conducting this public meeting on the budget and providing printed information sheets on all aspects of the budget (copies available at the city office).  The proposed budget must be available to the public 10 days prior to its adoption, which is scheduled to occur at the regular June 10 city council meeting.