Park City property taxes edge upward as bond sale reflected on bills | ParkRecord.com

Park City property taxes edge upward as bond sale reflected on bills

by Jay Hamburger OF THE RECORD STAFF

There was plenty of discussion in the late spring about whether the Park City Council would raise property taxes to make up for falling municipal revenues.

The City Councilors decided against the highly unpopular idea of pushing the property taxes higher. But people who own property in Park City are now learning whether their places have changed in value, as determined by the Summit County Assessor’s Office. As part of that process, the owners are also being provided an estimate of their property taxes.

The portion of property taxes collected by City Hall will increase slightly even though the City Council decided against a hike in the property taxes. City Hall officials explain the increase by noting that a round of voter-authorized conservation bonds was issued earlier in 2010, the final such bonds Park City voters have approved.

Michael Kovacs, the assistant Park City manager, said City Hall issued $6 million worth of bonds this year. The $6 million is part of a $20 million ballot measure voters approved in 2006, the third of City Hall’s three conservation bonds and the most valuable of the three.

"It’s one of those things that it’s a delayed reaction," Kovacs said about the sale four years after the voters approved the bond.

Kovacs said City Hall issued the final $6 million to fund the protection of land along the S.R. 248 entryway by placing what is known as a conservation easement on the parcel and to fund a conservation purchase in Thaynes Canyon.

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"We got some good prices in different places. It’s been popular," Kovacs said about City Hall’s conservation program.

The increase in property taxes tied to the $6 million in bonds that were issued amounts to:

$39.54 per year for a primary residence with an assessed value of $800,000

$71.89 per year for a vacation home or commercial property valued at $800,000

The bonds will be paid off in 15 years.

The sale of the final conservation bonds came in the months before City Hall could place another such bond on the ballot, one that would be tied to some sort of agreement with the Sweeney family to preserve all or some of the family’s Treasure acreage.

A City Hall negotiating team and Sweeney family representatives are engaged in high-stakes talks that could result in a conservation deal. The talks are underway behind closed doors and it is unclear whether an accord will be reached and a dollar amount that is under consideration.

People with questions about the increase may call Kovacs at 615-5182 or City Hall’s budget office, 615-5181.

Meanwhile, in a statement from the Park City School District, officials indicated the district’s portion of the tax bill "will likely increase." According to the statement, the increase is estimated to be $94 on properties valued at $500,000 in 2010 and 2009.