When is a tax increase not a tax increase? When it is equally offset by a tax decrease.

That is what the Kanab City Council debated at their July 8 meeting and, with one dissenting vote by Councilmember Kent Burggraaf, voted to continue the truth in taxation process to retain the $24,730 in property taxes in 2014 that would have otherwise been eliminated by the retirement of the bond obligation for the Kanab Fire Station this year.

If adopted after the process is completed, it would result in no net change in a property owner’s tax amount from last year. If not adopted, the property tax amount would decrease by $5.56 per $100,000 of the home’s assessed value, which is 55 percent of its market value.

Mayor Robert Houston stated the retained tax monies would be earmarked for capital improvement projects. Council members Brent Chamberlain and Joe B. Wright emphasized that the use of these funds should be clarified for specific capital improvement projects. By doing so, taxpayers would know where this money will be spent and how it is helping to benefit the community as a whole.

Councilmember Kirt Carpenter said when the council reviewed the expenditures for fiscal year 2014, they couldn’t cut anything more out of the budget and retaining these funds in the budget would allow at least some improvements to wish lists involving city-owned properties.

Burggraaf felt unsettled that the process of retaining the tax was not being properly conducted, utilizing an established timeline.  Mayor Houston assured him that both the city’s attorney and those at the state level believed the city was going about the process in a legal and timely fashion. Chamberlain quipped, “In my experience, no two attorneys are ever going to agree completely on anything.”

City Manager Joe Decker said public notices regarding the proposal will be disseminated and a public hearing notice posted. If people opposed to retaining the tax cannot garner enough signatures to put it on a ballot referendum within 10 days of the hearing, the $24,730 will be incorporated as revenue in the 2014 fiscal year budget starting September 1.

In other action, the council adopted Ordinance 7-1-14 O, coordinated by Councilmember Burggraaf, basically revising, consolidating and updating references to criminal codes to eliminate duplicate language and already referenced within existing state codes.

Additionally Burggraaf, who is also the Deputy Kane County Attorney, proposed a change to the city statute regarding dog and human encounters. “Presently,” Burggraaf stated, “if a dog bites someone once, twice or even three times, and the fine is paid, a court judge never even hears about it, unless it is particularly egregious. I am proposing that even after the first episode of a dog jumping upon or attacking a person, it be required to be a mandatory court case in order for the judge to determine the dog’s potential danger to humans.”

Councilmember Wright commented, “The public should have an opportunity to comment on this proposal before it is included in this or any other ordinance.” For now, no changes were made to the existing city and state statutes and fines regarding dog attacks.