The Park City Chamber/Bureau board of directors, representing almost 1,000 businesses, recently voted to support both local bond issues — the Summit County $50 million open space bonds and the Park City School District’s $79.2 million facilities bonds.
The proposals address different but critical needs.
The projects proposed in the 2021 school bond focus entirely on the future of education in Park City. Park City High School will expand to include ninth grade, offering students a four-year high school experience presently not available. The move is educationally sound and compatible with how teens all over the country experience high school. It will make Park City more attractive to people with growing families.
The bond will fund expanded pre-kindergarten programs at our four elementary schools. Expanded pre-K means not only better student outcomes, but less worry and more flexibility for working families, improving productivity and helping alleviate staffing shortages.
The bond proposal is part of a larger capital improvement project that includes mothballing Treasure Mountain Junior High, which opens exciting possibilities. Transit hub and Gateway Visitor Center, perhaps? The district says it is open to ideas.
The property tax impact on a $945,000 primary home would be $8.33 per month. Commercial properties and secondary homes would see a tax increase of an estimated $15.26 a month. Typically, the impact goes down as bond debt is retired over 20 years.
The Chamber/Bureau is among those leery of tax increases, but the benefits these projects will bring are long overdue. The net worth of property owners has skyrocketed as real estate prices rise and businesses are setting records despite the staffing shortage — factors we think will make the small cost of improving the lives of our schoolchildren more bearable.
The county’s $50 million open space bond will have an even smaller tax impact while preserving land that, in our opinion, is beyond price. Although the money is not earmarked, Summit County officials have broadly hinted it will finance the purchase of mainly East Side land, where population growth poses a challenge to our glorious vistas. This is the first time we have seen public purchase of land for preservation on a county-wide ballot, and here in Park City and the Snyderville Basin, we have always stood ready to pay a little extra to save our open spaces — most recently in the 2018 Treasure acquisition. For most of us, the chance to preserve more of precious landscape is a top priority and an easy call. We are confident Parkites will act decisively to champion the cause of open land on the East Side, too, ultimately for the benefit of everyone.
The county estimates property taxes will increase $3.33 a month on a home valued at $715,000. Second homeowners and businesses would pay $6.08 per month. Preserving open land as part of building a sustainable, pristine mountain community is well worth it.
In the final analysis, protecting the land and the future of our families are our most fundamental community values. Let’s welcome the chance to put them into action once again and vote “Yes” on the open space and school facilities bonds.