The Gilbert Town Council turned down requests to lower the town’s property tax rate and instead voted Tuesday to use the increase in collections to speed up road construction.
On a 4-3 vote, the council decided to maintain the town’s tax rate of $1.15 per $100 in assessed value, forgoing a suggestion by the mayor and two council members to decrease it to $1.10.
Some residents were upset.
“To take advantage of revenue increase completely at the expense of revenue providers at a rate of 50 to 60 percent seems to me almost immoral,” said Gilbert resident Courtland Hilton.
Mayor Steve Berman and council members Dave Crozier and Don Skousen urged a slight tax decrease to help families struggling with the growing taxes.
But Vice Mayor Steve Urie said that, given the instability in the real estate market, values could fluctuate.
Urie said the town’s property tax accounts for a small portion — about 10 percent — of a resident’s total tax bill. Plus, residents have other concerns the town must address, he said.
“The main concern spoken loudly and clearly in the last election was traffic and congestion,” he said.
Assessed values in town have increased almost 62 percent. Including new construction, the town’s total property value increased this year from $1.5 billion to $2.4 billion.
Gilbert only has a secondary property tax dedicated to repay voter-approved bonds for road or park construction. But even maintaining the current rate could increase a resident’s bill as much as 8 percent, depending on the rise or fall of home values.
Leaving the rate the same generates the capacity for $103 million in new bonds to support the construction projects.
The town has long-term plans for at least $280 million more in work. Currently, $92 million in bonds are authorized.