Treasure bond rebuttal: Cost of acquisition in Park City would be greater than price tag shows
September 28, 2018
The author of a statement in opposition to the Park City ballot measure that would provide most of the funding to purchase the Treasure acreage in a conservation deal submitted a rebuttal of some of the claims made in a pro-bond statement to the County Courthouse, countering that the total cost of the acquisition would be greater than the $64 million price tag.
Both statements, along with the rebuttal, will be included in official election materials. The deadline for the writers of the pro and con statements to submit counterarguments to the Summit County Clerk's Office was Monday. According to the Clerk's Office, the author of the statement in support of the ballot measure, former Park City Councilor Cindy Matsumoto, missed the deadline, submitting her rebuttal on Tuesday.
For that reason, Matsumoto's rebuttal will not be included in the election materials, according to the Clerk's Office.
Park City is asking voters to approve a $48 million bond. Most of the money would go toward the $64 million acquisition of Treasure, while the bond would also fund a contribution of up to $3 million for a separate conservation deal negotiated by Utah Open Lands for a section of acreage in Thaynes Canyon known as Snow Ranch Pasture.
Steve Streamer, a Park Meadows resident who authored the opposition statement, writes in his rebuttal that the true cost of the Treasure acquisition, factoring in interest on a successful bond and bond issuing costs, would add up to more than $80.5 million.
"Spending up to the 'limit of a credit card' just because we can is poor governance," he says.
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The claim appeared to be a counter to Matsumoto's argument in the pro statement that Park City taxpayers would not shoulder a heavy property tax burden if the Treasure bond is successful. She stated that property taxes in Park City are among the lowest in the state, adding that several prior open space bonds are due to expire in the coming years, which would return property taxes to current levels should the bond pass.
Streamer also addresses Matsumoto's argument regarding the scope of a potential development on the Treasure land. Discussing the impacts of a development, Matsumoto wrote that a project would encompass 1 million square feet, "roughly equal to 10 Park City Walmarts."
The rebuttal claims the development would be closer to the size of five Walmarts, based on the average square footage of a Walmart Supercenter like the one in Kimball Junction.
"Once again the people for this bond are trying to inflate the size of the project to elicit an emotional response to win your vote," Streamer writes. "… It makes one question the other 'facts' quoted in the above FOR statement."
Additionally, Streamer argues in the rebuttal that City Hall should not have included the contribution for Snow Ranch Pasture in the bond measure. He indicates that he supports the idea of conserving that land, but not at the cost of voting to approve the funding for Treasure.
In the pro-bond statement, Matsumoto pressed the idea that conserving the Treasure land aligns with previous efforts successfully pursued by City Hall's lauded open space program, such as acquisitions of the McPolin Farm and acreage in Round Valley. She also argues that a development on the land would cause "devastating" impacts to the community.
Streamer's statement in opposition to the bond outlines arguments such as that the bulk of the Treasure land would remain untouched even if a project proceeds and that Main Street businesses and the tourism industry, rather than the broader community, would be the beneficiaries of a successful bond.