Park City School District’s clarity and trust continue to take hits.
Let’s say 20 years ago PCSD took out a loan and the final payment is this month. They could either acknowledge that they have paid off their debt and let taxes drop because the school district’s loan has been paid off. Or PCSD could say, we could really use that extra money and no one will notice, so let’s keep charging it.
That’s where we are.
And that’s what the school district is doing. While the certified tax rate should drop this year to reflect the fact that the school district paid off a capital levy, the school board wants to keep the rate artificially high because they could use that money to pay for cost overruns for construction at Jeremy Ranch and McPolin. They want taxes to be about $42 higher per year, for the average house, than they should be. They hope you won’t notice.
If we delve into trust issues deeper, the school district said they wouldn’t raise taxes to fund improvements at Jeremy and McPolin. However, the improvements will increase our taxes over what they would have been. During the recent school board meeting, Andrew Caplan tried to defend the concept by saying, “The promise was that we will not raise taxes beyond the current debt service.” To me, he is parsing words. The developments at Jeremy Ranch and McPolin were supposed to be paid for by increased revenue growth and not taxes. Dr. Gildea said they would be paid for by bake sales. This is clearly not the case. The cost overruns of 1-3% are now being paid for by taxes. This is unacceptable.
Instead of decreasing the tax burden on residents, as they should be doing, the School district is trying to hide cost overruns by removing tax decreases. Yes, it is complicated, but the bottom line is that your taxes should be less than they will be.
As someone who has been following this closely it is infuriating. The district signed up for $40 million in improvements based on lease revenue bonds. These weren’t supposed to raise taxes. Now we are hearing that we will pay more in taxes than we otherwise would and that money will be used for development related to these bonds. That’s a tax increase.
It’s another example of why there is little trust in the Park City School District and why we need a change.