A sales-tax hike: which way would Parkites vote? | ParkRecord.com

A sales-tax hike: which way would Parkites vote?

Jay Hamburger The Park Record

Park City leaders are considering asking voters in November to allow City Hall to increase the amount of money it collects in sales taxes, a funding stream that would then be put toward construction projects and conservation purchases.

The Park City Council on Thursday is scheduled to decide whether the issue should be put on the ballot. A hearing is scheduled on Thursday prior to the City Council vote. The meeting starts at 6 p.m. at the Marsac Building.

Staffers have outlined an increase of .5 percentage points to a portion of the sales tax paid in Park City known as the resort communities sales and use tax.

If the increase is put on the ballot and then approved by voters, the portion of the sales tax would climb from 1.1 percent to 1.6 percent. It would amount to an increase of 50 cents on a $100 purchase.

The tax would apply to all purchases on which sales taxes are paid inside Park City except unprepared food items — generally those purchased at grocery stores.

City Hall estimates the increase could bring in another $3.2 million in the municipality’s 2014 fiscal year, running from mid-2013 until mid-2014. The soonest the tax could be collected is April 2013. The tax would not have a sunset date.

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The amount that is collected would depend on the sales numbers each year in Park City.

The base sales tax in Park City is currently 7.45 percent, but the figure climbs depending on what sort of purchase someone makes. The 7.45 percent base includes the 1.1 percent for the resort communities sales and use tax, and it would tick upward to 7.95 percent if the increase is approved.

The increase is seen as something that would impact visitors more than full-time Parkites.

Park City wants the extra money to pay for a diverse group of projects and purchases. The recession struck at a time when development was already anticipated to level off in Park City, delivering a two-pronged hit to City Hall’s finances.

Some of the projects that could be funded with the additional monies include:

  • Main Street improvements, which businesses favor in an effort to ensure the street remains competitive with other shopping, dining and entertainment districts.
  • improvements to streets in Old Town, which would continue City Hall’s long-running efforts to upgrade the neighborhood’s roads.
  • improvements to the network of storm drains
  • land purchases for conservation purposes

    The Historic Park City Alliance, a business group that represents Main Street and nearby streets, supports the increase. The organization’s board of directors recently unanimously endorsed the proposal, according to Maren Mullin, the president of the group.

    City Hall has addressed Mullin’s group and the Park City Area Lodging Association in the last few weeks to brief members about the idea. Mayor Dana Williams and the City Council discussed the possibility of requesting an increase during budget talks in the spring and early summer.