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Park City Focuses On Sales Tax, Housing And Environmental Legislation For 2019 Legislature

Prior to the start of the legislative session, Park City Mayor Andy Beerman and Assistant City Manager Matt Dias met with Sen. Ron Winterton and Rep. Tim Quinn, Republicans representing Summit and Wasatch Counties, to discuss Park City’s priorities for the 45-day meeting at the Capitol. KPCW’s Emily Means has more.

At the top of the list is the legislative proposal to potentially redistribute the sales tax. Heber Republican Rep. Tim Quinn has been working on the plan for months, though the bill has yet to be drafted and numbered. Currently, Park City’s tax formula is split 50-50 between population and point of sale. Park City Assistant City Manager Matt Dias says, in a resort town with a smaller population, that sales tax is needed to accommodate out-of-town guests.

"So, all the visitors that come to our community—that require all the extra mitigation, all the extra buses, and plowing, and police officers, and traffic, and parking and the infrastructure that goes along with that—they leave some of their dollars here to help pay for their impacts," Dias said. "And so any change in that formula could potentially have huge impacts on Park City’s ability to mitigate, to plan for and to have the infrastructure necessary to have the quality of life that we have for our residents and for our tourists."

Last week, Park City Chamber/Bureau CEO Bill Malone told KPCW he was concerned about how lowering the sales tax rate could potentially affect a municipality such as Park City, where much of the revenue comes from visitors’ purchases. Because Quinn is in his second term as a representative for Summit County, Dias says the legislator is acutely aware of the impacts to Park City.

“He has a concept about broadening the sales tax base, but not doing any harm to cities and towns, or a community like Park City that is dependent on sales tax that the tourists spend," Dias said. "So, his initiative is a little bit different, and broadening the base—I can’t imagine that we would have any opposition to that—but it is different than the effort that’s out there to potentially change the formula and the sales tax distribution.”

Along with sales-tax amendments, Dias mentioned the City’s interest in affordable housing and land-use initiatives, as well as two issues related to conservation and sustainability.”

"We’ve been told that there may be a bill this year about e-bikes and the use of e-bikes on trails. We know that trails are an incredibly important amenity in our community, so we’re watching that closely—any efforts to take the limits off of e-bikes about where they’re allowed to go and where they’re allowed to operate," Dias said. "We’ve also heard that the good fortune we had last year with the effort to prohibit the use of certain types of plastic bags in our community, that that is susceptible for a challenge again this year."

KPCW will be providing legislative updates twice a week until the end of the session in March.