Sales tax hike in Park City won’t impact holiday shoppers
November 16, 2012
People shopping in Park City during the holiday season will pay the same rate in sales taxes as they have before.
Park City voters on Election Day approved an increase in one part of the overall sales-tax rate. But it will not go into effect until the spring. The increase will be added to receipts starting on April 1, 2013, meaning that the extra money will not be collected during almost the entire ski season.
The voters agreed to increase what is known as resort communities sales and use tax. That portion of the sales tax is 1.1 percent. The ballot measure that was approved will increase the figure to 1.6 percent, an increase of .5 percentage points. Someone will pay another 50 cents in sales taxes on a $100 purchase, according to City Hall’s calculations. The increase is permanent.
The ballot measure passed with 58.5 percent of the voters saying they were for the increase — a margin of 1,919 in favor and 1,364 against — the results released on Election Day showed. The Park City Council on Monday, convening as the Board of Canvassers, is scheduled to finalize the results.
The City Council on Nov. 29 is anticipated to adopt an ordinance with the new tax rate. The ordinance will then be sent to the Utah State Tax Commission for validation.
The overall base sales tax in Park City will climb from 7.45 percent to 7.95 percent. The sales tax charged in Park City varies depending on the sort of purchase someone makes.
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The margin of 16.9 percentage points between the ‘For’ voters and the ‘Against’ voters was perhaps slimmer than the supporters would have wanted. Although it passed easily, more than four out of every ten voters cast ballots against the measure. There was not organized opposition.
The resort communities sales and use tax is added to all purchases inside the Park City limits except purchases of unprepared foods, generally those sold in grocery stores. The tax is seen as something that impacts visitors more than people who live in the community on a full-time basis.
City Hall estimates it will collect $3.2 million between mid-2013 and mid-2014, the first municipal fiscal year it will be in place. Leaders plan to earmark the monies for a range of items, including improvements along Main Street and conservation purchases. The funds will also be used for upgrades to storm drains and street improvements in Old Town.
The work anticipated along Main Street was of note as Mayor Dana Williams and the Park City Council considered putting the measure on the ballot earlier in 2012. Main Street has been lobbying for improvements to the streetscape and the pedestrian experience, saying that work is needed to remain competitive with outlying shopping, dining and entertainment districts.
Main Street was the primary supporter of the ballot measure, drafting a statement in favor of the increase that was distributed to Parkites. Leaders on the street argued there would be wide-ranging benefits to the community. A Park Meadows man provided an opposition statement that was also distributed to people in Park City. He argued that the tax should not be increased in a difficult economy and sales taxes would be higher in Park City than in the Snyderville Basin, giving people a reason to shop outside the city limits.