Guest Editorial | ParkRecord.com

Guest Editorial

Julie Hooker, Park City I was thrilled to hear that our county planned to purchase the Stone Ridge property. It represents an important piece of open space and also puts the final nail in the coffin of Claudia McMullin's CORE.

To be clear, I wholeheartedly support maintaining this area as open space. Unfortunately, after a bit of research, I am terribly concerned about the current County Council misusing funds. Therefore, I am writing this and hoping for clarification and transparency.

Both Bob Jasper and Claudia McMullin celebrated this significant achievement on KPCW while noting that they relied on Chris Robinson’s brilliant negotiating skills to determine the price. To date, I haven’t seen an actual appraisal on the property. Why didn’t the current County Council order an appraisal to establish the proper value for the land? They are, after all, using bonded taxpayer dollars.

In the agreement to purchase the property, the current County Council settled four lawsuits. Why didn’t the council share that information in the press release?

Since being seated and hiring Mr. Jasper, the level of litigation in which this council has engaged is staggering.

In addition, the agreement requires the county (buyer) to pay for the survey and platting of a three-lot subdivision on ten acres not included in the purchase.

As stated, I believe that Stone Ridge is an important parcel that should be preserved. However, the current County Council cannot use bonded open space money to bail them out of another legal dispute.

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One of my many reasons for resigning from the Snyderville Basin Planning Commission was the non-transparent way in which the current council tried to sneak money from the rainy-day fund to cover last year’s deficit. In this case, I can only infer that they feel taking money from the Open Space Fund is easier to explain to taxpayers and, more importantly, for voters in the upcoming election.

Apparently, the terms of the purchase involve a portion of the funds to be raised through donations. However, asking for private donations to pay for another legal mistake caused by merit employees and the current County Council is wrong. (Incidentally, why do we support merit employees?)

Please, before asking for my contribution, tell us the truth about the settlement and provide us with an appraisal of the property. How much are we paying for the open space? How much are we paying to settle the lawsuits generated by the current County Council?

The truth. It’s pretty simple.

I believe the community wants this piece preserved enough to support the purchase if it moves forward in an honest, transparent and legal manner.

I’m looking forward to electing three new members to the County Council this November. I expect fiscal responsibility, honesty, and gracious professionalism from our three new council members.