VERNAL--There’s been a lot said and written about Proposition 4 in Uintah County over the past several months and the argument comes to end on November 5th, when the ballots will be counted and the financial fate of Uintah County School District determined.
If Prop 4 passes, the school board will be authorized to impose a new .0016 tax on every dollar of taxable property within the district. Uintah School District Superintendent Mark Dockins said, “We want the taxpayers to decide, is this an appropriate use of tax funds?”
The $8 million dollars in funds currently being collected by the Capital Levy can only be used to fund buildings, maintenance and equipment, for which the school district says that there is currently no need. Whereas, the funds collected by the voted local levy would be added to the general fund balance and could be used for a variety of things, many of which the district says it’s in great need of.
“We’re 1 of 3 districts in the entire state that doesn’t have a voted levy. The voted levy, at the maximum amount of .0016, would generate about $7 million dollars and we proposed to reduce the capital outlay by $8 million, thus creating the million dollar tax savings and yet putting the money where we can use it” said the District’s Business Administrator, Scott Ruppe.
Many in the community have spoken out personally, via social media, or in local news publications, in opposition to Prop 4.
James Drollinger, an opponent of the proposition said, “I have done 11 ‘Did you Know?’ articles about the Prop 4, in my opinion, is a disaster for the taxpayers. To me, it’s a sham.”
Several opponents to the proposition have been asking why the district isn’t using the $24 million they currently have in their accounts to answer the district’s needs, rather than imposing a new levy.
Drollinger said, “In the general fund they have a surplus of $24 million, in the general fund. So why are they going after more money? How much is enough?”
To which Ruppe said, “To spend that savings account on things that are long term and then to have to continue that over the long term is just not feasible.”
Dockins added, “When we look at ongoing funding and we have a one time amount that comes in, even if it happens over a course of three years, what we’re looking at is the need for a sustainable plan.”
With ballots already in the hands of many and with less than two weeks left until the polls close, the issue is left in the hands of the tax paying voters of Uintah County.