Summit County invites voters to meetings to learn more about tax proposals
Summit County voters will have the opportunity to attend several meetings over the next week to learn more about the two sales-tax initiatives that will appear on the November ballot.
Summit County and Park City Municipal are inviting voters to comment at two open houses and two public meetings on the ballot initiatives being proposed to raise revenue to increase transportation services and infrastructure in the area.
The first open house will be held from 3 p.m. until 5:30 p.m. Wednesday, Oct. 12, in room 133 of the Sheldon Richins Building in the Snyderville Basin. At 6 p.m., a public meeting with an opportunity to provide input before the Summit County Council will follow.
“Alfred Knotts (Park City staffer) and myself will be sitting there for people to come in and ask specific questions about the projects and the initiatives,” said Caroline Ferris, Summit County’s regional transportation director. “We will have copies of the voter information pamphlet, which is the same one that will go out, and we will have our list of projects.”
The Mass Transit Tax and the county-wide tax option would each add .25 percent, or one cent for every $4 spent, to the countywide sales and use tax. The taxes would not apply to unprepared foods or gasoline. Officials estimate that nearly 50 percent of the sales tax collected would come from visitors. Each new tax, referred to on the ballots as Propositions 9 and 10, would annually generate more than $4 million.
The current sales tax rate on a normal purchase, excluding unprepared foods or gasoline, is 7.95 percent within Park City and 6.35 percent in the county. If the two sales taxes are approved, it would raise the rates to 8.45 and 6.85, respectively.
County and city staffers have outlined several capital projects that could be accomplished using the funds from the two taxes, including State Roads 248 and 224 corridor and safety improvement projects, remote parking lots, intersection and system-wide transit improvements, and new bus routes to South and North Summit.
“The council would like to hear from people because so far they have not heard any diverse opinions on the matter,” Ferris said. “They have just heard ‘yes’. But this is an opportunity for people to talk to the council about steps they have taken, projects they have identified and where they are going.”
The open houses will be the first organized opportunities for voters to go before staffers and the County Council. Another open house and public meeting will be held starting 4 p.m. on Wednesday, Oct. 19, at the County Courthouse in Coalville.
Park City’s issue group, the Project for Deeper Understanding, will also host a public forum about government strategies for improving transportation and the mechanisms to fund them at 7 p.m. on Thursday, Oct. 13, at St. Luke’s Episcopal Church. The two-hour forum will include a question-and-answer segment with the audience.
“These are just more avenues for people to learn about what is going on and to ask questions,” Ferris said. “I just want people to feel free to come and tell us what they think because we’d be happy to answer any questions about projects, funding sources, or how the revenue is generated. That is why staff will be there.”
Propositions 9 and 10 will appear on the ballots that voters should anticipate receiving in the mail next week. The return ballots must be postmarked by Nov. 7, the day before the General Election.
For more information about the transportation initiatives or projects, go to http://www.letsgosummit.com/. To view the Summit County staff report prepared in anticipation of the meetings, go to http://summitcounty.org/DocumentCenter/View/3886.
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Each of the Park City area’s state legislators have a lot more than just ski resorts and restaurants on their mind – try roads, natural gas and a state university as well.