Fire District wants a big tax hike
The Park City Fire District wants about a 24-percent tax increase for those living in western Summit County.
Money the district receives from people who own primary homes worth $500,000 would jump from $198 to $232.
The owners of businesses worth $500,000 would pay $63 more if the increase is approved, according to Fire District Chief Financial Officer Bill Pyper.
The fire tax for people who live in western Summit County full time will increase almost $7 per $100,000 of assessed valuation.
Revenue from the tax increase would help fund a new station on Holiday Ranch Loop Road, construction of a training facility and a fully staffed station at The Canyons.
A Truth in Taxation hearing will discuss the proposed tax hike Aug. 20 at 6:30 p.m. at the Fire District administrative office building at 736 W. Bitner Road.
The time it takes firefighters to respond to some areas is inadequate, according to the Insurance Services Office, which evaluated response times at the Fire District.
"Some of these areas are just so far away," said Park City Fire Chief Kelly Gee, who lives in Summit Park. "In your cars it’ll take you a half-hour to get there."
Roughly eight new houses currently under construction at the edge of Summit Park "are way beyond our service level," Gee said.
But call volume in that neighborhood doesn’t justify operating a fire station at Parleys Summit, Gee said.
"It’s just not the right location," he told members of the Summit County Commission in July. "We average three calls a month to Summit Park and two of the three are medical. As far as warranting a fire station, that really doesn’t do it."
But about half of the active fire stations in western Summit County are within the Park City limits, Summit Park resident Lynne Finney said, adding that the population of Snyderville is nearly four times that of Park City.
"If they will give us more fire stations, we need that tax increase," Finney said about an abandoned fire station in Summit Park. "I want that to be spent properly in the areas that are just shockingly underserved at this point."
The 67-year-old said last time she "called 911 to get an ambulance it took a half an hour."
"I already have people in various areas of the county, not just my own subdivision, who are going to go to their people and get people up in arms about this," she said. "I just want them to do what’s right."
Since a tax increase in 2003, three new fire stations have been built at The Canyons, Promontory and in Deer Valley.
Gee admits response times for firefighters at the edge of the Snyderville Basin are slow.
"Much of these deficiencies were the result of too few stations spread too far apart which resulted in unacceptable response times to some areas within the district," a Fire District report presented to the Park City Council states.
According to Finney, the gated Promontory subdivision is in bankruptcy and that new station "is too far from the most populous areas of the Snyderville Basin for firefighters to respond in a reasonable time."
"I don’t want somebody to call 911 and die because they take a half hour to get there, and I don’t want them to burn in a fire up here," Finney said about Summit Park. "We are the area that is most endangered."
According to Finney, "all of my experiences with the Park City fire department over 17-plus years have been exceptional and all of the firemen and [paramedics] have been professional, kind and caring."
"But they can’t do their jobs if they can’t get there in time," Finney added.
Those with questions about fire stations in western Summit County can contact Finney at email@example.com or Assistant Fire Chief Bob Zanetti at 940-2500.
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A Summit County Councilor said recently that it will become necessary to require people to hold permits to use trails in the Snyderville Basin. There is concern that people from the Salt Lake Valley are contributing to overcrowding issues on the trails.