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Armstrong Ponders Bus Routes, Basin Recreation Tax Increase

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In his Thursday interview with KPCW, Summit County Council Chairman Roger Armstrong talked about two different issues that impact Snyderville Basin residents.    Those are  the Snyderville Rec District’s proposed 72 percent tax increase; and the routing of the Basin’s bus system.   

Armstrong told KPCW that he wants to dig deep into re-examining the bus routes in the Basin.    He said they’re still not making it easy for people to ride the bus.         

“We’ve got 25,000 people living from St. Mary’s out to Pinebrook and Jeremy Ranch.   We’ve got 8,000 people which expands to 75,000 people in the wintertime in Park City.  I think there are probably seven routes running in Park City, and there are three or four routes running to the west and north of St. Mary’s.    And I’m not sure that that balances well.   I think we can take a look at the routing and how we’re getting people to the spine routes, to the White Route.   We’ve advertised that the Electric Express is running every 10 minutes.   It’s not.  It’s, practically speaking, probably running every 20 minutes.  So we haven’t moved as far as we should have there.”

He added they also have to talk about regionalizing bus service, which means involving the cities in eastern Summit County, Wasatch County and the MIDA development authority near the Jordanelle.

On another topic, Armstrong said he’s heard some questions about  Basin Recreation’s proposed 72 percent tax increase.   And he thinks residents perhaps don’t see there’s a difference between the proposed tax increase, and the District’s taxpayer-approved bonds that  acquired open space.       

“Part of what Basin Rec is experiencing-they haven’t had a tax increase in a very long time.    I think people confuse bonding with the taxes.   Bonding is really about acquisition of property for the most part and building of facilities.  The taxes really pay for the operations.  And we’ve successful, I think, as a Council over the past-during the time I’ve been on Council and actually even before me—with acquiring open space.  And it’s recreational open space.  And as we do that, it just increases the burden on Basin Rec to maintain those facilities, to maintain playgrounds.  It’s like every other time we have to do a tax increase, it gets more expensive for labor and for materials, and you have to pay for it somehow.”

The tax increase sounds like a big gulp for residents.   But Armstrong said there’s a reason they can’t phase it in at this point.      

          “But I think when you waited ten years to do it, phasing becomes harder, because you fall further behind in the phasing.  If every two years, they raised it by slight increments over the last ten years, we wouldn’t be facing this.   But that hasn’t happened.”

Summit County Council Chairman Roger Armstrong

Known for getting all the facts right, as well as his distinctive sign-off, Rick covers Summit County meetings and issues. KPCW snagged him from The Park Record in the '80s, and he's been on air and covering the entire county ever since. He produces the Week In Review podcast, as well a heads the Friday Film Review team.
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