Park City details financing for Treasure, Thaynes Canyon deals
City Hall on Monday released a report detailing two financing scenarios under consideration as leaders prepare to decide whether to add an unrelated open space agreement in Thaynes Canyon to the potential acquisition of Treasure in a conservation deal, highlighting the impact of tacking on $3 million to what was already positioned to be the municipal government’s largest-ever ballot measure.
The drafting of the report was a critical step in the days after Mayor Andy Beerman and the Park City Council indicated they were interested in gathering more information about the $3 million addition, which would be put toward a $6 million agreement that would preserve the 19-acre Snow Ranch Pastures off Thaynes Canyon Drive and Three Kings Drive. The not-for-profit Utah Open Lands reached the Snow Ranch Pastures agreement and plans a broad fundraising effort to finalize the deal. A $3 million contribution from City Hall would cover 50 percent of the price.
In one scenario, City Hall would ask voters in November to approve a ballot measure pegged at $53.7 million. The figure would be $3 million higher than the $50.7 million number that officials earlier attached to the ballot measure to fund most of the cost of the $64 million acquisition of the Treasure land on a hillside overlooking Old Town along the route of the Town Lift.
The report provides updated estimates on the impact on property-tax bills should a ballot measure pass. The updated numbers are based on newly released information about Park City’s property-tax base of 2018. They are slightly higher than earlier figures publicized by City Hall.
If the ballot measure number is set at $53.7 million, the owner of a primary home valued at $799,214 would pay an estimated $220 additional per year over the course of the 15-year repayment of a bond. The owner of a vacation home or commercial property with the same value would pay $399 annually.
Should officials opt for the other scenario, a lower dollar figure of $50.7 million, the estimated impact would be an additional $206 annually for a primary home and an additional $375 each year on a vacation home or commercial property. The repayment would remain at 15 years. The $50.7 million option, though, also would require City Hall to use all the remaining open space-allocated monies collected from an earlier voter-approved slight increase in sales taxes paid inside Park City. That would be accomplished by City Hall issuing a bond against the monies raised in the slight increase. Open space is one of the items the sales taxes collected through the slight increase may be put toward.
The mayor and City Council are scheduled to hold a critical meeting on Thursday about the options. It seems almost certain the elected officials will signal whether they want to add the $3 million for the Thaynes Canyon deal to the Treasure ballot measure since deadlines are approaching for that election. It also seems as though the elected officials will at least take a straw poll regarding the two options unless they craft another funding strategy at the meeting.
The meeting on Thursday will be the first scheduled opportunity for the public to be in attendance to monitor the talks about adding the Thaynes Canyon deal. The elected officials first spoke about the topic publicly last Thursday in an unscheduled discussion.
It is unclear what sort of reaction the talks will receive. Some could be pleased with the addition of a significant parcel like Snow Ranch Pastures to the Treasure discussions. Others, though, could be concerned about the possibility of the higher numbers threatening the passage of a ballot measure that was centered solely on Treasure until the past week.
The meeting on Thursday is scheduled to start at 3:15 p.m. at the Marsac Building with the discussion about Treasure and Snow Ranch Pastures slated to start at 4:15 p.m. Forty-five minutes have been set aside for the discussion. A public hearing is not scheduled, but the mayor oftentimes allows an opportunity for comment anyway.
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City Hall in December posted strong sales-tax numbers, powering past projections and nearly equaling the figure from the same month in the previous year, as Park City continued to beat expectations amid the continued spread of the novel coronavirus.