Draper eyes $1.6 million property tax increase to boost public safety

May 13, 2024, 10:25 PM | Updated: 10:30 pm

DRAPER — Officers’ lives are constantly on the line as they protect and serve their communities.

Police work is an extremely dangerous job and firefighters face their own hazards.

With departments facing hiring and retention challenges, Draper City is eyeing a $1.6 million property tax increase to make salaries more competitive while adding some key positions in its police and fire departments.

“We’re never going to be the highest-paid police department in the valley, but I’d like to be competitive,” Draper Mayor Troy Walker told KSL TV during an interview Monday. “We need a tax increase to cover ongoing police benefits, fire benefits and pay. That’s really what it is.”

If the proposed property tax increase is approved Tuesday by the city council as part of a tentative new fiscal year budget, it would mean a $50.99 increase per year or $4.25 per month for a home valued at $500,000, $77.91 per year or $6.49 per month for a home appraised at the city’s median value of $764,000, $101.97 per year or $8.50 per month for a $1 million home and $152.96 per year or $12.75 per month on a $1.5 million house.

Where the funds would go

According to the city’s plan, $500,000 would go toward police pay adjustments, $400,000 would go to fire pay adjustments, $326,000 would add three new firefighter positions, $200,000 would go toward adding a police chief deputy, $163,000 would pay for a fire training captain position and $40,000 would go toward making a records specialist position full-time.

Even with the increase, Walker said Draper would still boast one of the lowest property tax rates in Salt Lake County.

According to the city’s plan, $500,000 would go toward police pay adjustments. (KSL TV)

“So (it’s) not a lot of actual money that you’re going to spend — not even a full McDonald’s run anymore,” Walker said.

Walker said the money is necessary to be able to continue to retain good employees while competing for new candidates.

“The number of people who want to become police officers — it has gone down,” Walker said. “Good police officers, good firefighters — you want to keep them.”

If the city council approves a tentative fiscal year budget including the increase Tuesday night, officials said there would then be a public hearing on the tentative budget before the Community Reinvestment Agency on June 4.

Walker said he was confident the additional money would be significant for public safety in the city.

“It’s enough to make the difference,” Walker said. “It’s enough to solidify our public safety and the pay and to keep good officer and firefighters — it’s enough to do it.”

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Draper eyes $1.6 million property tax increase to boost public safety