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Everybody wants your money …

The past few years in Park City have been interesting.

Do you want better schools?
Here is a bond.

Do you want to fix transportation?
Here is a sales tax.

Do you want more recreation?
Here is a bond?

Do you want to save Bonanza Flat?
Here is a bond.

Do you want to try again to fix transportation and affordable housing?
Here is a bond.

Do you want to buy half of the Treasure Mountain project?
Here is a bond.

We wonder when this will lead to complete bond fatigue?

It reminds us of this classic scene from Airplane:

Comments

7 Comments

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Walt

Josh, have you ever lived elsewhere? Bonds and tax issues tend to come every year or two in most places with growing populations/changing needs. It’s normal. You can obviously be for or against any specific tax or bond, but it’s not unusual to have a lot of them up for votes in a short period of time.

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Parkrag

Yep, I’ve lived a number of places in the Midwest and in SLC and I don’t recall anything like this. Maybe its typical of other parts of the country.

Also, if it was typical here, I don’t think you would have had members of the county council worried a couple of years back about the impact of bond/taxes and trying to figure when/if they could bond based on other proposed bonds.

Maybe most other people agree with you and they are happy to keep chipping in, whether it’s normal or not… That’s all that ultimately matters. I guess we’ll see.

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Walt

No, no, I didn’t say I was in favor (or against) any of those things (though I’m in general for most public works/education/infrastructure/open space funding).

When we lived in Boulder (very similar demographics, similar left-leaning political culture, similar growing population) there was a tax or bond issue on the ballot *every* year. Every year.

Remember that many of these funding mechanisms have a hard end date when they begin, so when you go to replace the fieldhouse (or whatever) you eventually have to bond again, because the bond that paid for the first one has expired. Many local taxes have to be renewed by vote every 5 or 10 or 20 years. A new bond doesn’t *necessarily* mean your total tax burden is rising (this was the case, as I recall, with the failed school bond), because things drop off your taxes periodically too.

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Parkrag

Sorry, I didn’t mean to imply that you were for all of these… I purely meant that maybe other people didn’t view a whole bunch of bonds as a big deal…

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Ellen

Yes, I am in Bond Fatigue, and I said as much to Andy Beerman on his Facebook page. And a lot of these bonds are falling on Park City proper, which is me again. I lived in the Philadelphia suburbs for 30 years, and we NEVER had this many bonds. Ever.

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Steep Powder

I’ve lived all over, and I find the consistent requests for our money to be alarming. Not that most (all?) aren’t worthy causes, but at some point, we need to be more prudent with public funds and understand what we can actually afford–Bonanza and Treasure included. The never-ending requests for money only put the pinch on the folks who make PC what PC is. If we want PC to become an area where only the elites can live/stay (even more than it already is), then fine, but that’s not what I love about being here. The pot isn’t endless, and when (not if) property values level off or drop and when (not if) unemployment climbs, we will be left in a bad spot.

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Wrangler

It’s important to remember a few things that are common to Park City:

– When residents vote for a new bond/tax, the burden is largely accrued by non-residents (2nd homeowners, corporations that own large and valuable chunks of real estate). While non-residents don’t get to vote, they might hit a point where they say “no mas” and begin to aggressively campaign against these measures (Park Record ads, etc). I think we started to see that during the campaign for the failed school bond.

– It often feels like local elected officials are incapable of just saying “screw it, we don’t have the money.” Or, “I’m going to put my political neck on the line and actually vote for a property tax increase within the confines of my council/board.” Instead they cop out and say “Let’s put a bond on the ballot.”

– I don’t want to argue the merit of each individual bond, but the Sweeney/Treasure deal feels a lot like extortion to me… Glad I don’t pay taxes in the city limits. I think that the Sweasure development (as proposed over the last decade) would totally suck, but I really wish that the city had stuck to its guns by shooting the thing down and then going to litigation. But who knows, litigation is expensive too.

– Finally, there are some real socio-demographic challenges related to our electorate. When it comes to voting yes or no on some of these bonds. For example, a 65 year old recently retired transplant who moved here in 2015 is probably amenable to paying for more open space. However, my guess is that the same voter is less likely to approve the same amount of money to renovate our schools if there is less tangible net benefit.


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