Why is Basin Recreation Proposing a Property Tax Revenue Increase?

November 18, 2019
Man cycling by the fields

Since 2004, the last time Basin Recreation requested an increase in tax revenue, the District has grown significantly. Guided by robust strategic master planning, the District has acquired over 2,100 acres of open space, developed approximately 90 miles of trail, added four dog parks and eight pickleball courts, as well as expanded The Fieldhouse twice to add fitness and gymnasium space, and an outdoor pool. Basin Recreation’s growth has been supported by two bonds generously passed by the community. Many of the amenities operated by Basin Recreation, however, are non-revenue generating and funded through property tax revenue.

The requested revenue increase will support operations and maintenance as well as capital funding. Operations and maintenance expenses include additional labor to maintain amenities to their full functionality and enforce rules and regulations to reduce user conflicts. Operations and maintenance expenses also include management of Basin Recreation’s open space properties, including forest and riparian restoration projects, preservation of natural resources, and increased noxious weed management.

Secondly, the requested revenue will support capital projects, both replacement and new. Some of Basin Recreation’s infrastructure is nearly 20 years old and, as the District matures, replacement becomes more of a priority. Replacement is critical to allow the District to continue to offer amenities at the standard the community has grown accustomed to. Examples of amenities that are reaching the end of their lifespan include the playgrounds at Willow Creek Park and lower Trailside Park, the turf field at Matt Knoop Memorial Park, the indoor track at The Fieldhouse, as well as sections of the hard surface trail system and associated trail features.

Concerning future capital development, Basin Recreation’s recent community survey supports the need for additions to its portfolio, specifically more courts and field space. Also recognized is the need for trail and trailhead development to facilitate connections within the trail system and park development to serve Basin Recreation’s residents.

Without additional revenue, service levels will decrease due to replacement delays and insufficient staff to properly maintain the facilities. Further, desired capital projects will be postponed until added funding is secured. While Basin Recreation is aggressive in pursuing grant funding, such is not guaranteed.

Property tax values in the Snyderville Basin have increased dramatically over the last fifteen years. However, Snyderville Basin Special Recreation District’s property tax revenue did not grow at the same pace due to the revenue-neutral formula used to calculate property tax revenue. Generally, as valuations of existing property increase, property tax rates decrease, holding revenue flat. Additionally, property tax revenue is not adjusted for inflation, which reduces purchasing power over time. Thus, the District’s property tax revenue can only increase from new growth or through the Truth-in-Taxation notification and hearing process.

The District’s request for an additional $2,379,231 in property tax revenue equates to an additional $14.47 per $100,000 of taxable value of a primary residence. The impact to a commercial property is an additional $26.30 per $100,000 of taxable value. The notice of proposed tax increase sent to property owners at the end of October reflects this increase. This increase does not include or impact the debt levy portion of the District’s property tax rate.

The public hearing on the proposed 2020 tax increase will be held on Wednesday, December 4 at 6:00pm at the Sheldon Richins Building, 1885 West Ute Blvd., Park City. Residents are encouraged to attend.

If you would like more information about this topic, please call Brian Hanton at (435) 649-1564, extension 28 or email bhanton@basinrecreation.org.