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Director Of Snyderville Recreation District Talks About Their Future, With Tax Increase

The director of the Snyderville Recreation District says he understands the concerns from the residents who criticized this year’s property tax increase.

The tax hike has been approved by the Summit County Council, but Brian Hanton noted it doesn’t take effect until this summer.  

The District budget, approved earlier this month, includes a 72 percent property tax increase—though when it is factored in with debt service the District pays, the net tax hike would be 29 percent.

Hanton said the tax rate isn’t set until this summer.    He said they know many Basin residents are on fixed incomes.   They’re mindful of the concerns from County Council Member Kim Carson about their capital spending and they will continue due diligence on their budget allocations.

He said they try to keep their recreation services affordable.     

“Our board has set some cost-recovery rates.  And we’ve actually exceeded those rates that the Board has looked for.  For example, the Fieldhouse.   There the Board wants an 80 percent cost-recovery rate, meaning what’s subsidized by the county taxes.    And we currently—this year, we’re in the 90’s as far as cost-recovery rate.  So we’ve been doing different things just trying to continue that revenue source in different ways.”

Representatives of the District have said they need funding to replace or expand on their infrastructure.    Hanton said that can be expensive.       

“Like the playground replacement.   We just did one at Trailside, added some shade, and it’s over $300,000.  We have three other playgrounds that are in the 15-to-20-year-old range that we need to replace.”

Among other items, he said they’’re responsible for 780 acres of open space in Toll Canyon, looking after weeds and riparian repair as well as trails.

They look to other revenue sources.   He said their staff secured nearly $300,000 this year in grants.   But that money isn’t consistent.

Residents have also complained about the excessive use of the trail system by non-county visitors who pay nothing.

Hanton said they’ve thought about fees.   But it’s difficult to patrol a system with 13 trailheads and 170 miles of trails—also tying into Park City’s system.         

“We’ve looked at a few different companies that, similar to what Park City uses on Main Street,  if that would be a viable solution, but understanding that those services cost money too.  Up in the Uintas, you can put an envelope with some money in it.    We could try that, but you still need people there to collect the money.    And there’s special trainings that they need to be money-handlers in our system.    So it’s not just an easy, “Just do this.” but there’s resources that are required behind that.  So we’re looking into it.  We’re not disregarding the comments of the community.   But we just need to do our due diligence on the back end, in making sure that we’re not creating more work, or more cost to the organization.”

Snyderville Recreation District Director Brian Hanton

Known for getting all the facts right, as well as his distinctive sign-off, Rick covered Summit County meetings and issues for 35 years on KPCW. He now heads the Friday Film Review team.
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