County delays issuance of land bonds |

County delays issuance of land bonds

Patrick Parkinson, Of the Record staff

The Snyderville Basin Special Recreation District soon plans to issue open space bonds amounting to up to $20 million.

Last week, the Summit County Council took the first step toward issuing the general obligation bonds by approving a parameters resolution.

"We always do a parameters resolution because that’s the first action the county takes before we put out the notice of bonds to be issued," said Bonnie Park, public affairs manager for the Snyderville Basin Special Recreation District.

Councilpersons voted unanimously to prepare to issue the bonds by publishing a notice for a public hearing, which triggers a protest period of 30 days.

Officials have canceled their previous plans to issue the bonds on Dec. 8.

"We were following the market to see if a Dec. 8 issuance would be financially beneficial and in our favor, and the market shifted. So we are not issuing bonds on Dec. 8," Park said.

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Year-end interest rates have spiked and financial advisers expect lower rates in early 2011, she said.

"We expect that there will be better market conditions after the first of the year," Park said. "We’re trying to be very diligent in getting the best rates we can because ultimately that saves our taxpayers money What we were seeing was that rates have been trending up and we don’t want to put ourselves in a place to issue when conditions aren’t favorable."

According to financial adviser Brian Baker, vice president of public finance for Zions Bank, "there is a tremendous amount of bonds being sold in the market now, with issuers hoping to sell and close before year end, and that is adding to the strong upward rate pressures."

More than 72 percent of voters favored the $20 million open space bond this past Election Day. Only those in the Snyderville Basin Special Recreation District, generally people living on the West Side of Summit County but outside the Park City limits, will be taxed when the bonds are issued. Those who own averagely priced homes valued at roughly $652,000 could see their property taxes increase about $69 per year.

About $12 million from the bond will likely be used for preserving open land and easements in the Basin. The other $8 million could be spent improving trails on the West Side of Summit County.

Park said Basin Recreation hopes to issue the bonds in early 2011 to help fund trail work next summer.

"We will issue some amount in order to accomplish some trail projects," she added.

Meanwhile, the Basin Open Space Advisory Committee is scheduled to meet Dec. 2 to determine whether bonds should be issued for obtaining land in the next few months.

"There are definitely conversations occurring," Park said.