In 2018, the Utah Legislature has directed Counties to consider the opportunity to raise more money for transportation and control how and where the money is spent in all parts of our County. These taxes are the 4th Quarter, a 0.25% sales tax that can be used on regionally significant transportation projects and the 5th Quarter, a .20% sales tax that can only be used on transit related projects. The Utah Legislature has given counties the authority to impose these sales taxes without voter approval.
These are points the County Council is considering:
- The difference with the 4th Quarter is a portion of the revenues would go to the cities within the County to maintain their roads and bridges.
- In each case the monies allocated would increase what Kamas, Coalville, Oakley, Henefer, Francis or Park City currently has to spend on road or transit infrastructure.
- Both taxes would be applied to every item purchased within the county except for food and food ingredients, meaning groceries are exempt.
- Currently, Summit County’s sales tax rate is the 9th highest in the state. Since all counties that haven’t already imposed these taxes are contemplating them, it is difficult to determine how our tax rates would rate in comparison to other cities and counties.
- The Council is trying to weigh the importance of revenue for transportation infrastructure with the needs of all the other taxing entities in our County.
In order to meet the 4th Quarter incentive deadline, the County Council must pass an ordinance imposing the tax at their June 27th Council meeting. The 5th Quarter is less urgent, but has a sunset in 2023.
Summit County is committed to solving our mobility challenge.
Since 2016 Summit County has performed or is performing the following road updates and implemented the following transit programs:
- East Side Road Projects
- Electric Xpress Buses
- Kamas Connector
- Jeremy Ranch Interchange Improvements
- Kimball Junction Circulator
- New Park and Ride Lot in Front of Ecker Hill Middle School
- Summit Bike Share E-Bike Program
- Small Municipalities Grant Program
This is not an easy question for the Council. The challenge is that if the counties do not impose the increased sales tax, the Legislature may impose the tax statewide and take control of distribution.
If approved, residents could anticipate seeing the impact of the tax increase on non-food items beginning October 1.
How will this revenue be distributed?
While these taxes can be imposed (or not imposed) at any time before their sunset dates, if the County Council implements the 4th Quarter tax by the end of this month, the County gets to keep 100% of the revenues generated until July 1st next year.
After July 1, 2019, the monies are redistributed across the state with all cities, the County and our local transit districts sharing in the revenue that can be applied to roads and transit.
- For Summit County, this means possibly embarking on solutions for Kimball Junction, SR-224, US-40, improvements to Chalk Creek Road, trail completion on SR-32 and other important areas far ahead of schedule.
- With the increased revenue, the County and local transportation partners would be able to make more critical investments in transportation, transit infrastructure and service delivery to improve mobility, decrease congestion, address air-quality and guarantee funds for the long-term maintenance of all our local governments road infrastructure.