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County studying possible sales tax hike

By John Serfustini

Quarter-percent for streets, roads
It’s only in the exploratory phase now, but there’s a chance Carbon County citizens may have a ballot question next November about a county-wide, quarter-percent sales tax increase.
County Clerk/Auditor Seth Oveson told the county commission on May 20 that the Utah Legislature approved HB 362, a bill to give local governments the option to levy the so-called transportation infrastructure tax on all retail sales except groceries. Revenue would be specifically for road maintenance or improvement, or public transit.
The county would get 0.15 percent, with 0.10 percent going to the city or transit district where the tax was collected.
This new revenue would be treated as an add-on, not as a substitute for funds already committed to roads. Early estimates indicate that the revenue would range from about $18,000 in East Carbon, to $90,000 for the overall county, to $197,000 for Price, the area’s retail hub.
Commissioner Casey Hopes said he has been discussing the tax with local mayors, and has asked for letters of support or denial based on city council decisions.
Commissioner Jae Potter, while not objecting to the idea, said, “We don’t want to be the only county that does this.” He also said he and his colleagues would have to start meeting soon with civic clubs and organizations to get a feel for overall public opinion.

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