At the 11th hour, the Utah legislature introduced a bill that would require state authorities to use a state fund to take out loans for future projects.
MIDA is the state authority building the Mayflower Resort adjacent to Deer Valley in Wasatch County. It is one of three land use authorities in the state along with Inland Port and Point of the Mountain Authority.
To repay the bonds for building the infrastructure and ski lifts of the Mayflower development, MIDA is using tax increment collections. This type of financing uses the increases in property valuation within the project area as guaranteed income to pay off the bonds over the next 40 years.
The bill introduced earlier this week would create a state bank to hold funds from the legislature. State authorities could then take out loans from the bank to fund future projects.
Speaking during a Senate committee meeting, the bill’s sponsor Sen. Jerry Stevenson - who is also a member of the MIDA board - said the loans would be paid back to the taxpayer.
"They would be long term loans and the bank would be funded upfront by the Utah State Legislature," he said. "And we have money appropriated in this last bill that would allow money to sit in this loan fund until the bankers or the loan committee determines where that goes and whether it makes good sense. And that’s a good direction for us to move on these authorities."
The bill also creates a loan approval committee, which would consist of board members appointed by the governor, speaker of the House, Senate President and the chair of the Permanent Community Impact Fund Board.
Stevenson said the loans set up through the bill are not generally taken out through a public process.
"But as far as asking for a loan, why they need a loan that would all be determined in a public meeting - would be determined by their board," he said. "And then they would make that request. What this is really does this builds a fence around those funds. This doesn't turn a block of funds over to any of these authorities, they have to go through a process to get access to them."
Kristin Williams is the MIDA team communications advisor. In an email, she said in order for MIDA to take out funds from the bank for a future project, they would have to prove it would bring in revenue to pay back the loan. However, Williams says MIDA is not receiving or asking for a loan at this time.
The bill - which was introduced to the legislature Monday - barreled through the Senate...passing the floor Tuesday. It now awaits discussion in the House.