Golden sidewalks in Rockville? Residents resist 132 percent tax increase

Residents of Rockville talk after a public hearing over a proposed 132 percent tax increase was held. Rockville Community Center, Rockville, Utah, Aug. 11, 2014 | Photo by Aspen Stoddard, St. George News

ROCKVILLE — Rockville Town Council met with about 20 residents Monday evening at the Rockville Community Center, 43 E. Main St. in Rockville, for a “Truth in Taxation” public hearing over a proposed 132 percent tax increase for fiscal year 2015, a hearing that turned heated as some lobbed swear words and others said the council should be ashamed of themselves.

The  tax increase comes after Rockville’s savings account has been emptied to balance the budget for the past few years, Councilwoman Megan Honer-Orton said. In order to do so, Rockville Town is in need of some $56,000.

“Maybe it would be helpful if we could cut down on a few things,” Rockville resident Shirley Ballard said. “I cannot believe you dare put this on paper. You cannot do it. I cannot tell you enough, you cannot do this.”

Councilman Bernie Harris said the Town Council held a four-hour meeting recently and made as many cuts as they could to the proposed budget – cuts that only added up to a measly $1,000.

From left to right: council member Megan Honer-Orton, Mayor Tracy Dutson, council member Bernie Harris listen to Rockville resident Joseph Furse during the public hearing held at the community center, located at 43 E. Main St. Rockville, Utah, Aug. 11, 2014 | Photo by Aspen Stoddard, St. George News
From left to right: council member Megan Honer-Orton, Mayor Tracy Dutson, council member Bernie Harris listen to Rockville resident Joseph Furse during the public hearing held at the community center, located at 43 E. Main St. Rockville, Utah, Aug. 11, 2014 | Photo by Aspen Stoddard, St. George News

This is a burden on a lot of people, resident Ryan Ballard said, and then asked if the tax increase had anything to do with the bridge. If so, he said, why would they put any more money into it when they will receive a federal grant to build a new bridge?

“That grant won’t be received until 2016,” Honer-Orton said, “the bearings are seized up.”

The town will receive a grant in 2016, Mayor Tracy Dutson said, but the town still has not decided whether to refurbish or replace the bridge. A survey of town citizens taken within the last year seeking viewpoints on the future of the bridge turned out a 50:50 divide in opinion.


Read more: Discussion over future of historic Rockville Bridge continues

“I work from sunup to sundown day in and day out to support my family,” resident Joseph Furse said, “I added it up, and this is going to increase my property tax $1,000 a year, I have no idea where that’s going to come from. Every dollar you get is one less dollar we have.”

Former Rockville Mayor Dan McGuire said that, for the 10 years he served as mayor, the budget was always balanced. He also handed out a list of 52 accomplishments of the first four administrations that included planting 40 new trees along the public way and acquiring the community center building – a former meeting house of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints.

Residents of Rockville talk after the public hearing and stand outside of the community center, located at 43 E. Main St. Rockville, Utah, Aug. 11, 2014 | Photo by Aspen Stoddard, St. George News
Residents of Rockville talk after the public hearing and stand outside of the community center, located at 43 E. Main St. Rockville, Utah, Aug. 11, 2014 | Photo by Aspen Stoddard, St. George News

Rockville resident Steve Cox asked the crowd to show up Aug. 18 for the budget hearing – so that the council will have to look each of them in the eyes when they pass the budget, he said.

“Rockville is the laughingstock of the southern part of the state because they are trying to push 132 percent increase of taxes through,” said Pete Mortensen, a resident of Rockville for 30 years. “This will be a first. I have never seen anything like this.”

One man asked where the plan to put in golden sidewalks was on the proposed budget.

“We went line by line, a lot of things we could not cut,” Honer-Orton said. “We did the best we could.”

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6 Comments

  • misfit1386 August 12, 2014 at 10:23 am

    Start by cutting politic pay checks! Do something to raise money other than taxing the common man and woman! Jesus there is so much you could do to help come up with that money besides tax tax tax! Maybe your lil towns government should keep up with their s…* instead of fall behind and punish the tax payers. For every percent you raise in taxes politicians should get double taxed after all its their bright ideas right! They should be all for it! Think outside the box. Im sure most of you are LDS and your not taught to think outside the box but its a new time and it is time to stop suppression. Maybe follow mesquites footprints and legalize medicinal MJ. Seems to work for the other states. S…* throw a party! 5 dollars at the door Fridays. In a few months youll have your 60,000 plus. lol
    *Ed. ellipses

    • Alvin August 12, 2014 at 7:19 pm

      Rockville’s entire budget for the year is $202,000 !!! My guess the Mayor and city council work for free. This budget just barely keeps Rockville operational and on the map. There are other ideas I’m sure but maybe you should crawl out of your little box do some research and “think before you rant”

  • Pharms August 12, 2014 at 12:40 pm

    I can’t hear it now. Don’t want no government. Why ain’t the government doin’ for them. Wondering how much in pay raises this proposal covers?

  • My Evil Twin August 12, 2014 at 7:23 pm

    I hope SG News will cover this budget meeting, and publish the proposed budget. I’d like to know where their tax money is being spent. How many employees does the town have, what are their jobs and what is their salary. Are the governing officials paid, and if so, how much? What do they have in the way of business in town, that could help with tax money? I believe there may be a B&B or two there. Is their a bed tax?
    Let’s open this up to public viewing, so that not only the local taxpayers, but everyone can see just what is going on here. Perhaps it is time to do away with the Town of Rockville, make it a “census designated place,” that is served by Washington County.

  • Bart August 12, 2014 at 9:15 pm

    To Pharms and Misfit1386, There is maybe one or two paid part time employees in the entire town. Everything else is done by volunteers, the one politician the mayor, included. And Misfit, the state of Nevada legalized medical marijuana in 2000. The city council of that town merely allowed a grow facility fourteen years later.

  • shady1 August 13, 2014 at 5:42 am

    They wasted 10 grand on putting gutters in with rock that took way longer than it should have

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