Majority of Parkites willing to pay higher taxes for Treasure buyout |

Majority of Parkites willing to pay higher taxes for Treasure buyout

by Jay Hamburger THE PARK RECORD

Approximately seventy-three percent of Parkites who responded to a City Hall poll last summer, nearly three out of every four people, indicated they are willing to pay at least something additional in property taxes to finance a buyout of the Treasure partnership’s development rights.

The amount they are willing to pay, though, varies considerably. Moreover, approximately 28 percent of the people who were surveyed said they are not willing to pay more in property taxes, the largest percentage group of the eight answers from which the people chose. The 28 percent was 11 percentage points higher than any of the other answers.

The other choices were:

  • $500 or more per year, with 17 percent
  • $400 to $499 per year, with 5 percent
  • $300 to $399 per year, with 7 percent
  • $200 to $299 per year, with 5 percent
  • $100 to $199 per year, with 11 percent
  • $50 to $99 per year, with 13 percent
  • $1 to $49 per year, with 15 percent

    The survey was conducted in July and involved 1,200 households selected at random. The response rate was 29 percent. The survey’s margin of error was plus or minus 5 percent.

    Meanwhile, the surveyors also inquired about Parkites’ willingness to finance, through a ballot measure, a deal to reduce the scope of the Treasure project at the site itself while shifting some of the development rights to a spot uphill from the Park City Mountain Resort base area. That option has been discussed alongside the idea of a complete buyout. Nearly half of the people 49 percent indicated they were not willing to pay anything for that sort of agreement, by far the most popular choice.

    A ballot measure has long been seen as the only way City Hall could raise enough money for a Treasure conservation deal. Money from three earlier conservation bonds has been spent, and City Hall does not have near enough money in other accounts to fund a deal. Voters have previously approved $40 million in conservation bonds through three ballot measures. A Treasure deal, though, is expected to be priced significantly higher than any of City Hall’s earlier land buys.

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    The Treasure side recently provided City Hall the price tag on a full buyout of the development rights. The number has not been made public. It had been anticipated that the figure might be released late on Monday, but a meeting scheduled that morning involving negotiating teams from City Hall and the Treasure side was cancelled. At least one City Hall staffer was not available for the meeting.

    Jonathan Weidenhamer, who directs City Hall’s economic development programs and is assigned to the Treasure negotiations, said the meeting has been rescheduled Wednesday morning. The earliest the price tag will be made public is Wednesday afternoon, he said.

    The Treasure land is situated on a high-profile hillside overlooking Old Town along the route of the Town Lift. The Sweeney family in the 1980s secured development rights at the site as part of an overall approval for the Treasure land and nearby parcels. The Sweeney family and the Park City Planning Commission reached a deadlock during long-running talks about the Treasure proposal, which encompasses upward of 1 million square feet of development. The deadlock prompted the current discussions about a conservation deal.