Guest editorial: Frustration about rising taxes in Park City is building
I have been a full time resident here for over 18 years and am getting more frustrated with the constant yammering by local government that they need more money. At the same time, they say that there is no housing for workers. Everything they do does nothing but raise the cost of living here with increased taxes and infrastructure costs.
First, they offer to pay the superintendent $235,000, which was $170,000 for her predecessor, then they purchased a home for $870,000 for the superintendent to live in. That along with the two new “administrative” positions contributed to a 16.8 percent increase in the property tax rate. Granted teachers needed a pay increase, but this incremental spending was outlandish.
Then I hear talk of a school bond issue they may eventually seek that could exceed the size of the prior “rejected” bond and the current Treasure bond.
Treasure bond issue
On the upcoming ballot, we have a proposal to purchase the Treasure property that only includes part of the costs. Money was taken out of operating budgets for maintenance and development of Main Street. At least $6 million dollars was already paid to the developer and that is non-refundable.
It is not the job of government to see that a private project is profitable. Rather it is its job to see that the private development pays their fair share. Options could include:
Assess the developer for “increased” use of roads, sewer, water and other utilities. If that capacity is not in place, then the developer should pay for 100 percent of the proposed increase. This should include the cost to rebuild all the streets, after the construction to as new, and have the capacity to handle any increase in on-going traffic. If the road needs to be widened, then the developer should be required to obtain the necessary land by purchasing it and widening the road.
An environmental impact study should be completed before the first shovel goes into the dirt to identify any risks associated by the impact of the construction to the health and safety of the community. If the risks are too great, the development should be rejected or mitigated by the developer.
If more than 50 workers will be added to the Park City workforce at the completion of the project, the developer should be required to “build” on their land affordable housing for at least 20 percent of the proposed increase in workforce size.
Enclosed parking should be required on the structure for each full-time resident plus a percentage of parking spaces for the workers and guests coming to the project — not just the executives. For the workers, additional parking could be created off-site and maintained by the developer with transportation to and from the remote parking paid for by the developer.
Park City is going the way of California before it passed Proposition 13. They had government bodies that were out of control and did not manage the increases in infrastructure costs and started to price people out of the market. Say NO to the Treasure bond issue and put in place some better process so that new development is managed effectively, and affordable housing is added to the inventory by the private sector. If someone paid $235,000 cannot afford to purchase a home here, what is a Main Street and/or hotel worker to do for housing?
“How a neighborhood grows should be a transparent process. If a plan spelled out how a community will grow, then the development process would have fewer surprises.”