Utah residents criticize cities for relying on user fees

Published on July 16, 2017 at 08:22PM

SALT LAKE CITY (AP) — Utah cities are quietly balancing their budgets by raising fees on electricity, water and other services instead of raising property taxes, a politically difficult process that requires elected officials to host public hearings.

Some residents and legislators tell The Salt Lake Tribune (http://bit.ly/2unTSJK) that the process isn’t transparent and should be curbed but officials say it’s an easier, cheaper way to balance budgets and ensure that tax-exempt organizations like churches pay too.

Republican Rep. Jefferson Moss of Saratoga Springs and Sen. Howard Stephenson of Draper say a bill they drafted to end the practice had to be scaled back after it was met with intense opposition. The bill was changed to continue allowing the transfers as long as cities send out notices and hold public hearings regarding each transfer.