6 percent energy sales and use tax debated in Smithfield
SMITHFIELD -- Smithfield city officials conducted a workshop Tuesday evening to discuss the adoption of three ordinances.
Among the items of discussion was a proposal outlining the institution of a 6 percent municipal energy sales and use tax. City Manager Jim Gass said the proposal has been evaluated and supported throughout the state as an additional "revenue stream" for city governments.
According to the ordinance, a 6 percent franchise fee would be established for individuals and businesses who are involved in the sale of propane, natural gas or electricity.
City Council member Jeffry Gittins was concerned that the fee would impose an unequal burden upon some citizens, namely those requiring propane delivery, while failing to affect others. "If we are to levy the fee, I believe that each residence should contribute equitably."
Unanimous support was expressed by the council.
Gass said motor fuel, aviation fuel and other means of energy which are exempt from federal taxing would not be charged for continued services, nor would existing franchise agreements be altered between current energy suppliers.
The fee would be collected on the state level, then reimbursed to the city of Smithfield on a monthly basis, as outlined by the Utah Tax Commission.
In other business, Gass explained an ordinance designed to clarify owner and tenant rights for rental properties.
Under the ordinance owners would be required to maintain the residence in accordance with established health and safety codes. Stairways, fire escapes and other structural issues would also be taken into consideration to ensure the external integrity of the complex.
Landlords would be required to provide operable showers, running water and proper heating. As specified by council decision, adequate heating must be available to tenants between September and May.
Tenants would be expected to maintain units responsibly, adhering to both tenant/owner agreements and city health and safety codes. Although wear-and-tear is permitted, the property must be restored to its original condition prior to leaving.
Standards would also imposed to ensure that reparations of the unit were conducted on a timely basis. For example, inoperable toilets, heating or broken pipes would demand attention by the landlord within 24 hours of written notification. Inoperative drains, broken windows or damaged exterior doors would require attention within 48 hours.
Steps toward property reparation would be required during the appropriated time period, but completion was designated to occur with "reasonable diligence by the landlord."
Dean Clegg questioned the definition of reasonable diligence, indicating that a project could be prolonged indefinitely.
Although the issue has yet to be resolved, Gass explained that complaints could be settled in small claims court should problems arise.
The city's final item of discussion was directed toward procurement of bids. As defined by the ordinance, the proposal was designed to ensure fair and equitable treatment of all persons who deal with the procurement system of the city.
Gass explained that guidelines would be established under the ordinance to provide more effective broad-based competition and increased economy for the city.
For information concerning the policy or any of the aforementioned
proposals, individuals are invited to attend a public hearing on Oct.
13. Ordinance proposals will be readdressed for public input.
Archived Months:September 1998