Future of North Summit Rec is on the ballot as Summit County zeroes out funding
Summit County is zeroing out the funding it has been giving to the North Summit Recreation District, and the district is asking North Summit residents to approve a tax increase to pay for its ongoing operations.
As funds for North Summit Rec programming have decreased, participation fees for sports have increased, the district’s recreation manager Nate Brooks said. The registration fee for youth baseball, for example, has doubled to $70. But Brooks said fees alone aren’t enough to keep the district afloat. If the tax measure is defeated at the polls next month, that would likely be the end of the district.
The tax would generate $85,000 per year, which would be about $28.50 per year on a home with $265,000 in taxable value.
Brooks said outreach efforts are going well, and that a group of about 15 people formed to support the measure’s passage.
“The message is clear: Summit County is cutting North Summit Rec funding totally by 2021 and without a reliable source of funds the youth programs will not exist in North Summit,” Brooks wrote in an email.
Members have been active in promoting the funding initiative with parade floats, fair booths, fliers and even hosting a volleyball tournament, Brooks added.
While many people have been active on social media, he said others have focused on the old-fashioned method of passing the word around a kitchen table.
He said he hasn’t heard much negative feedback about the effort.
Coalville Mayor Trever Johnson wrote in support of the bond that recreation programs help form a child’s character.
“Time and time again, I hear people talk about how hard it is to get their kids off their screens and engaged in healthier activities,” Johnson wrote. “North Summit rec plays a vital role in our community by providing opportunities to get our youth engaged in a healthy and active lifestyle. Participation in youth sports also helps kids learn coping skills to accept defeat, teaches respect for authority figures, such as coaches and referees, and builds consideration for their peers.”
Brooks said he’s optimistic the measure will pass, adding that he hopes people do research for themselves on the district’s website or by reading the mailer that was sent out with ballots.
“We understand no one wants yet another tax, but these funds stay in (the) North Summit community, governed by the North Summit Recreation Special Service District (not the Summit County) board and directly go back to the youth of North Summit for a great cause to keep kids active, involved, healthy and out of trouble,” Brooks wrote.
This comes in the wake of two previous attempts to raise money for recreation in North Summit that failed at the polls. In 2012, voters soundly rejected an $8 million bond to build new recreation facilities, with the request having been lowered from an original plan to raise $15 million.
In 2016, voters rejected a tax increase to pay for the district’s operational costs that would have generated around $100,000 annually.
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