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Summit County Council considers tax increases, says goodbye to one of its members

North Summit Fire District trucks
KPCW
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Taxes for the North Summit Fire District, which is based in Coalville, haven’t been raised for more than 15 years.

The council plans to adopt a final budget in December, which is when the tax increases could be officially approved.

Basin Recreation and the North Summit Fire District are both proposing tax increases as Summit County moves to adopt a budget for next year.

Taxes for the North Summit Fire District, which is based in Coalville, haven’t been raised for more than 15 years. That long wait has resulted in a proposed property tax increase this year of more than 300%.

If approved, a home worth $500,000 would see a tax increase of almost $300.

With the extra funds, the fire district hopes to hire more staff, upgrade equipment, and improve response time by opening one of its stations in Wanship.

Summit County Councilmember Glenn Wright told KPCW those are crucial upgrades.

“We’ve got a fire station in Henefer that hasn’t been manned for years, and now has no roof that has to be replaced," Wright said.

"That’s one of the big capital items for this year. And we have a fire station in Wanship that hasn’t been manned for years, that they would like to man in the near term, but first it looks like there’s significant roof repairs that have to be made there.”

The Basin Recreation property tax increase is more modest, at roughly 19%. That tax last went up in 2019. The proposed increase will be an additional $8.20 for every $100,000 of a property’s value annually.

The money will be used for equipment and additional staff, including a full-time lifeguard. The pool at Basin Rec currently has reduced hours due to labor shortages.

The council plans to adopt a final budget in December, which is when the tax increases could be officially approved.

Separately, county councilmember Doug Clyde resigned Wednesday with two years remaining in his term. It now starts an appointment process with the Summit County Democratic Party.

Two candidates have come forward so far. Those are Snyderville Basin planning commissioner Thomas Cooke and Coalville City planning commissioner Tonja Blonquist Hanson.

Clyde, who lives in Oakley, was the only east side resident on the council. Councilmember Wright told KPCW that having a geographically diverse council is key.

“There are different issues and attitudes from the east side of the county, and those voices need to be heard," Wright said. "I think it’s important to have an east side representative.”

Hanson is a fifth-generation county resident who lives in Coalville.

Cooke, who lives in Silver Summit, has said that because the western side of the county is more populous than the east, decisions about growth and development disproportionately affect residents there.

Summit County Democratic Party Chair Katy Owens Hubler said she does not plan for other candidates to come forward, but they are keeping their ears open until this weekend.

A delegate vote will follow a central committee meeting on Nov. 19.

Parker Malatesta covers Park City for KPCW. Before coming to NPR, he spent one year as a general assignment reporter for TownLift in Park City. He previously was the news editor at The News Record, the student paper at the University of Cincinnati. He loves running, reading, and urban planning.