ST. GEORGE, Utah (ABC4) – St. George City leaders are proposing a $503 million budget for the 2022-2023 year, but it could come with a property tax increase for all residents.

“Most of the increase in this year’s budget represents additional projects that we’re going to be doing this year,” says Adam Lenhard, the city manager.

If passed, it will be the largest in the city’s history and nearly $80 million more than last year’s budget.

“About 68 million dollars of the budget is just for water and sewer infrastructure, so everybody’s aware that water’s a big deal in St George right now we need to be really proactive when it comes to protecting our water resources,” he says.

Lenhard says nearly 40% of the total would go toward utilities and infrastructure, like their treatment plant and connecting all outdoor watering to secondary irrigation.

“With all the growth that’s happening in southern Utah there’s a need to expand that treatment plant and in addition to the overall expansion we’re also upgrading our capacity to produce secondary water,” he says.

Lenhard says about 40% of the funds would go toward public safety and a program called ‘Safe St. George’.

“Our police, our firefighters, they are overwhelmed, we’re behind on the growth and we really do see a need to invest in public safety,” he says.

However, city officials say there is nothing in the budget to help with the affordable housing crisis, despite the possible property tax increase of $5 a month per resident.

“If the city council is willing to approve that property tax increase and that primarily would go toward public safety wages,” he says.

There’s a public hearing to adopt the final budget on June 16.

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