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Posted on: September 14, 2021

General Obligation (Open Space) Bond Information

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Election Notice

Summit County General Obligation (Open Space) Bond Election Notice 

Cost to residents

The exact amount owed by residents annually can change due to market conditions and borrowing rates at the time the bond is issued. Our best estimate is that a Summit County household with a primary residence valued at $715,000 would have to pay $40 annually. The bonds issued in the aggregate principal amount is not to exceed $50 million. 

What can the funds be used for?

For the purpose of financing all or a portion of the costs of the acquisition of:

  • Passive or active open space
  • Conservation easements
  • Recreational amenities
  • Environmental and wildlife mitigation measures

Public Meetings

  • (Public Hearing) Wednesday, September 22, 6 p.m., Ledges Event Center, Coalville
  • Wednesday, September 29, 6 p.m., Richins Building, Kimball Junction
  • Wednesday, October 6, 6 p.m. South Summit County Services Building (Library)

Arguments For and Against

Summit County General Obligation (Open Space) Bond “For” Argument
*No “Against” argument was submitted

Frequently Asked Questions


Will this bond benefit the East side of Summit County?
Yes. Historically, the Snyderville Basin Special Recreation Service District has pursued open space bonds for recreational open space and facilities. As a result, only areas within the Snyderville Basin were benefited from the bond funds. In order to benefit the entire county, the Summit County Council (the “Council”) is proposing a county-wide bond, which is the first time such a bond has been pursued. The Council has stated in multiple public meetings that their intent is to use the bond funds to acquire and preserve open space not only within the Snyderville Basin but also within both North Summit and South Summit.

During the public hearing, commentators called for additional meetings in South Summit, specifically Kamas.
This meeting was held Wednesday, October 6, 2021

How does this bond affect taxpayers who own secondary residences?
In the same way as all other property taxes are levied and collected against secondary residences.

Will these funds be used for the condemnation of properties for open space?
No.

How much will this bond cost Summit County residents?
The exact amount owed by residents annually can change due to market conditions and borrowing rates at the time the bond is issued. Our best estimate is that a Summit County household with a primary residence valued at $715,000 would have to pay $40 annually.

Even after the election on Nov. 2, 2021, where the bond passes, can the Council still decide not to issue the bond?
Yes. Even if electors vote in approval of the General Obligation Bond, the Council retains the authority to choose whether or not to go forward with the issuance of the bond for the purposes outlined in the bond resolution.

In this bond is there a management plan with a focus on preserving water quality?
Specific management plans concerning water quality are not in the bond language, however, if the bond is passed, an organization like Summit Land Conservancy could build a management plan into individual easements.

How are these parcels going to be ranked or rated to make sure what we do bond for and purchase and conserve does have value (i.e. ecological, recreational, educational)?
The County has two committees that evaluate open space and conservation easement purchases and ranks them; the Snyderville Basin Open Space Advisory Committee and the Eastern Summit County Agricultural Preservation and Open Space Committee. These committees advise the County Manager on open space and conservation easement purchases. Any open space or conservation easement purchase over $500,000 requires the consent of the County Council. However, generally, the County Manager consults with the County Council on all open space and conservation easement acquisitions, no matter the market value.

Is there any chance that this would become a permanent tax?
No. When the bond is paid off, the tax goes away.

Please explain how we can leverage these bond funds so they grow exponentially?
Bond funds can be used as seed monies, which can be combined with other state and federal grant monies, to acquire larger areas of open space and conservation easements. This has been done in prior open space and conservation easement transactions involving the Snyderville Basin Special Recreation District partnering with either Summit Land Conservancy or Utah Open Lands.

How can residents get involved?
Be an advocate for your stance on this issue whether pro or con, and share your opinions with your friends, family, and neighbors.

If land goes under a conservation easement, would the new Recreation Commercial “RC” Zoning still be able to be applied? What happens to the developmental rights of that land once purchased?
When you preserve land as open space under a conservation easement, development rights are extinguished. The language within the conservation easement governs what happens on the property. Typically, conservation easements allow for some forms of recreation (hunting, fishing, hiking), but that is not always the case.
 
What we are losing in taxes if the land is developed?
The land to be acquired is generally zoned for low residential densities, which results in low market values. While property owners may apply to rezone their properties to higher densities and intensity of uses, the evaluation of such potential is speculative, as those rezoning decisions are legislative in nature. For the most part, the lands to be acquired are taxed as “Greenbelt.” Greenbelt is land that is in active agricultural production and qualifies for a low market value designation. This means that the property taxes received from these lands is minimal.   

 


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