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Herriman City's Bad Idea: A Public Safety "User Fee"

Herriman City will be funding law enforcement by imposing a so-called “user fee” of $300 per year on all households and businesses that are connected to the city’s water system. Herriman City claims that this proposal is fairer than property taxes.

This is one of the worst ideas in municipal finance to come along in a very long time.

Despite Herriman’s claim, this is not a user fee. User fees are based on usage. If a household uses more water, they pay more water fees. However, the city’s proposed “user fee” isn’t based on usage because everyone pays the same. Besides, how would the city measure a household’s usage of public safety and law enforcement?

Herriman’s “user” fee is a regressive form of taxation, which means low income households end up paying a higher percent of their income in taxes. With property taxes, higher income households generally own larger homes which means they pay more property tax. Herriman somehow claims that a regressive fee is “fairer” than a property tax, which is not regressive.

At least with a true user fee based on actual usage, like water consumption, a household can reduce its usage of certain services, which is especially important to low income families who are trying to balance their budgets.

Does Herriman propose to fund all city government with so-called user fees? What about city administration? The fire department? Should these be funded by regressive taxes masquerading as “user” fees?

User fees, whether real or fake, are not deductible on state and federal income taxes like property taxes are.

While genuine user fees should be earmarked to cover the costs of providing services, other revenues should not be earmarked. Earmarking general taxes (or bogus “user fees” in this case) should be avoided since this reduces government’s ability to prioritize spending.

General government functions – like law enforcement – should be funded by general taxes. If Herriman needs additional funds for law enforcement, they should go through the Truth-in-Taxation process and explain to their taxpayers why they need to exceed the certified tax rate. That’s what other cities do.

This is a bad idea. Too bad people don't pay attention to local government.

I know the Herriman city Mayor and council, and have a tremendous amount of respect for them, they really are great people. But this IS a bad idea. It seems that it was simply a way to skirt around the truth in taxation. It is unfortunate that so few people actually got involved and went to the council meetings when this idea was proposed.

Thank goodness it's only a $300 per year fee and not a $300 per year tax. If this were a tax, then people would be upset.

Fees just don't seem as bad. Yes, I am being sarcastic.

Actually, it seems that at least some other cities don't do that. In Woods Cross we pay a telecommunications tax that goes into the General Fund and can be used for law enforcement purposes.

I live in Herriman and feel that la enforcement should be funded by general taxes (i.e. property taxes). What can we do to address this issue with the city?

What a JOKE !!!!Eight sheriff's instead of three. Like Herriman needs eight sherriff's. With the way there handing out tickets lately the fines will pay for what sheriff's are needed. It seems to me that the law inforcement will be needed more in the low income area's that don't pay a water bill because it's apartment units pay a bulk rate.

I wrote the mayors office and heard back from him personally. After explaining my fixed income sitiuation to him and how I felt this was a "sneaky" way of doing things, I received nothing but offensive excuses and no sympathy at all. It is a shame. There should of been a vote. End of story. He needs to be taken out of office. This is a huge blunder. I'm sick of the excuse of more people should of been involved in their local government...that is an excuse for them getting away with spending our tax dollars horribly and not budgeting correctly. They don't want us at those meetings. That is why they sent the information on these fees in our water bills, tucked away so nicely so we wouldn't read it. I have to keep a budget and so should they! With the inflation in this state and jobs not giving raises....SHAME ON THEM!!!!

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