St. George has grown rapidly over the past 10 years, and according to the US Census, St. George was the fastest-growing city in the nation between July 2020 to July 2021. Current growth projections anticipate the City will continue to experience significant growth over the coming years.
That type of growth brings challenges.
Safe St. George is a 5-year plan intended to help meet those challenges, providing for long-term investment in personnel, facilities and equipment essential to the City’s Public Safety services: St. George Police Department, St. George Fire Department and 911 Dispatch.
Current reliable revenue sources have not kept pace with the growing demands of our community. The City’s volume of emergency calls is climbing fast. Outside agencies are increasing public safety wages, making it challenging to retain our skilled personnel.
Funding for Safe St. George is centered around property tax increases which are necessary for the 5-year plan to be successful and sustainable.
“Public Safety is a top priority of the city — it always has been,” said Mayor Michele Randall. “Property tax revenues help the City of St. George fund services to our community — and St. George hasn’t raised its portion of property taxes in 35 years. This is an opportunity for us to catch up to the growth we have experienced and continue to fund these vital services at a high level.”
Safe St. George seeks to accomplish several objectives:
The Safe St. George 5-year plan will cost an estimated $89.8 million. The City has identified several other sources to help pay for a substantial portion (74 percent) of the Safe St. George 5-year plan, lessening the impact to our citizens. These funding sources include:
Property taxes will fund an estimated $23.1 million total over the 5-year period, which is only 26 percent of the estimated costs. The City anticipates increasing its property tax rate in three gradual increments, ranging between 10 percent and 30 percent to only the City’s portion of the property tax bill over the next 5-year period; and if passed, the proposed property tax increases, will generate an approximate average of $4.6 million per year in additional revenue for the City to expand our public safety services.
“I have lived in St. George since 1978. One of the main reasons I choose to be a St. George resident is that we live in a kind, welcoming and safe community,” Randall added. “Safe St. George will help retain that feeling of security our residents cherish.”
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Note that the calculator is optimized for computer browsers and may not work on mobile devices. St. George City only receives approximately 12% of property tax funds collected. Other taxing entities' rates and collections are not represented in this tool.
Safe St. George is a 5-year plan which provides for investment in personnel, facilities, and equipment essential to the City’s Public Safety departments of Police, 911 Dispatch, and Fire. Funding for Safe St. George is centered around property tax increases which are necessary for the 5-year plan to be successful and sustainable.
Currently, St. George receives about 12% of the total property tax you pay. The City has not gone through Truth in Taxation to raise our property tax rate in the past 35 years; all while providing high-quality services to our community.
The City worked hard to evaluate all funding sources before considering a property tax increase, and with a goal to keep any increase as minimal as possible. However, for this critical of a purpose, the most prudent approach is to provide recurring, sustainable, and stable revenues that are less vulnerable to economic fluctuations – which property taxes provide.
Money collected from property taxes goes into the City’s General Fund. Property tax revenues are integral to help St. George City fund services provided to our citizens and businesses.
Property taxes do not automatically increase as property values rise. This is because the property tax system in Utah is designed to be "Revenue Neutral" which is accomplished by the Certified Tax Rate (CTR). The CTR provides the tax rate, that if adopted by the City, will raise the same amount of property tax revenue, as was budgeted in the prior year, from the same properties. As property values go up, the CTR goes down; inversely, as property values go down, the CTR goes up.
Because of this, the City’s portion of the property tax bill that our residents and businesses pay will generally be the same as the prior year.
The Utah State Tax Commission's Property Tax Division, Washington County, and the City of St. George all provide additional resources and information to assist our citizens with questions and comments regarding property taxes.
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