Southern Utah News Articles
Top Stories for June 29, 2011
Commissioners continue to study county finances
With Gil Miller, financial advisor, as the lead, the Kane County Commission continues to study county finances in detail. Their goal is to lower taxes. They recognize there is much to county finances they need to understand in more detail.
Each department head who handles county money reported in detail what their responsibilities are as related to property taxes. Miller praised county employees for their cooperation and help, and explained two basic fundamental principles of our nation’s founders: The rule of law and due process. The state is obligated to see both are applied in local governments.
County Recorder VerJean Caruso explained her duties by state law, and emphasized the importance of accuracy. The journey for property taxes begins in the Recorder’s office with over 16,500 parcels. Commissioner Dirk Clayson noted that Caruso catches a lot of errors.
County Assessor Linda Little described assessing all property in Kane County and how her office deals with the State Tax Commission. The State Tax Commission requires appraisals must be within 10% of market values. The county is divided into five sections. According to state law, the assessor must physically inspect property every five years. So every year, 20% of Kane County is appraised.
County Auditor Karla Johnson is the chief budget officer for the county. The auditor is responsible for tax roll certification, rate setting, notice of valuations, board of equalizations, adjustments, abatements, deferrals, tax sale, etc.
County Treasurer Georgia Baca concluded by describing all money ends up in her office. The State Money Management Act is followed by the treasurer. She is responsible for deposits and investments, collection of taxes, dispersals to different entities, etc. “Paying taxes by credit card has helped taxpayers this year,” said Baca. Kane County handles close to $30 million per year.
After the conclusion of the four departments, Commissioner Jim Matson said he has a new-found respect for what they do for the county.
Johnson had a breakdown of revenues and expenditures. The 2011 budget is $8,005,705 operating revenue. She explained how the certified tax rates are calculated and how new growth affects the rate. No hearings are required to adopt the State Certified Tax Rates.
Johnson also explained the time frame if the commission wants to lower taxes this year. The commissioners were all in agreement that they don’t want to end up having to cash-flow borrow.
In other business, the commission will put out an RFP for gravel.
Prior to beginning the commission work meeting, the commissioners were trying to find out what Secretary of Interior Salazar was planning to say that would affect this area. They were frustrated that they had no specific information, except that there will be an announcement. They received the same media advisory sent out to the media that the announcement was coming from the South Rim.