Basin Rec tax increase would pay for maintenance and new projects |

Basin Rec tax increase would pay for maintenance and new projects

Chris Best, left, and Phares Gines, Basin Recreation’s trails maintenance supervisor, right, work to create a culvert during National Trails Day in 2018 along Iron Bill trail near the Utah Olympic Park. Basin Rec is requesting a 72% tax increase to pay for ongoing operations and maintenance.
Tanzi Propst/Park Record

In 2004, the Snyderville Basin Special Recreation District owned 66 acres of land.

Today, it’s 2,500 acres. And 2004 is the last time the district raised taxes.

Basin Rec notified the Summit County Council Wednesday it intends to raise taxes this year. The Council will have the opportunity to approve the district’s budget and vote on the tax increase in December.

Basin Rec Director Brian Hanton said the numbers are still being worked out, but the rate hike would add about $2 million to the budget annually. It breaks down to about $12.82 per $100,000 of assessed value on a primary residence, or around $23 per $100,000 for a business or second home, he said.

Hanton said most of the money would be used for capital projects — like replacing or purchasing new equipment — and about a third of it would go to continual operations and maintenance.

Costs have risen dramatically in the last 15 years, Hanton said, as the district continues to add land and amenities.

He said the district’s five-year plan calls for $1 million to $2 million annually to replace or repair equipment like playgrounds and tennis courts. In 2004, the district managed 80 miles of trails; now it’s more than 150 miles.

Crews also have to do fire mitigation work in more forested areas like in Toll Canyon around the Toll Creek trail and in Summit Park and maintain 60 acres of park land and three community parks.

The new money would enable the district to budget for smaller projects that don’t rise to the level of needing a bond, Hanton said, and ensure the district is able to maintain the lands it has and continue to acquire more.

In 2014, voters approved a $25 million bond, of which $15 million was earmarked for recreation and open space.

Hanton said the community has been very supportive of these types of bonds and appears to support the mission of the district. He said surveys have continued to show the public wants to see increased maintenance of trails and the acquisition of more land and more trails.

Revenue from the tax increase would also allow for three new full-time positions that would help with maintenance, he said.

The district has a roughly $5 million annual budget, which would increase by about 43 percent if the tax increase is approved.

The state’s tax laws hold tax revenues steady year over year except for revenues generated from new construction, meaning the rates decrease to match increases in property values. To raise more revenue, taxing bodies must go through a truth-in-taxation process, which includes public hearings.

The next steps are an Oct. 3 Basin Rec board meeting at which the final numbers will be presented and a similar presentation at the Oct. 9 Summit County Council meeting.

There is a planned public hearing about the proposed budget and one about the tax increase scheduled for Dec. 4 as part of a County Council meeting. The Council may then vote to approve the increase.

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