Stansbury residents threatened to throw their Diet Coke into the lake last week during a public hearing related to a potential property tax increase proposed by the Stansbury Service Agency.
Around 150 angry residents squeezed into the Service Agency’s meeting room during their meeting at the Stansbury Park Clubhouse on the evening of Nov. 16 to make their disapproval of the new increase known.
The public hearing was required by the state’s Truth in Taxation process, as established by the Utah State Legislature. It requires local governments to hold a public hearing and inform taxpayers of any potential increase.
If the increase is approved, the service agency will increase property tax budgeted revenue by 43.7% above last year’s property tax revenue, excluding new growth, with a rate of 0.000994.
This means that a home that is worth $460,000 would be taxed $251.37, compared to last year’s $175.08, a $76.29 increase, according to information from the service agency’s budget.
On a business worth $460,000, taxes would increase from $318.32 to $457.03, which is $138.71 more a year.
By the end of 2022, the service agency will have collected around $1,526,950 in property taxes. If the tax increase is passed, they will collect $1,965,172 in 2023.
During the meeting, members of the service agency board explained the tax increase and where the additional funds would go.
“We are all on the same team here,” said service agency board chair Cassandra Arnell. “We want Stansbury Park to be a beautiful place to raise our children, to recreate from youth to adulthood, and to grow older with ease and grace. We each have our own goals and needs.”
If the increase is approved, property tax collection will make up approximately 62% of the agency’s revenue in 2023. The other 38% will come from program income, including golf course, pool, and cemetery fees, along with other recreation, according to Veronica Hobby, general manager of the Stansbury Park Service Agency.
As part of their nearly $2.5 million budget, the service agency plans to pursue funding sources from grants, donors, and private partners, as well as using tax revenue to complete several projects including finishing the amphitheater, the Mill Pond Bridge project, and Oscarson Park.
Expenditures associated with the golf course and other recreation projects comprised 72.2% of the agency’s budget. Proposed administrative costs equaled 19%.
The remaining 8.8% of costs is allocated to the swimming pool, library, and cemetery, according to information from the budget.
“We are constantly getting requests for more and upgraded amenities and services,” Arnell said.
During the public hearing, Stanbury residents lined up to voice their opinions about the tax increase hoping to sway the decision of the service agency.
Stansbury resident Richard Davis opened up the hearing by saying he hasn’t been seeing many improvements from his tax dollars.
“My only objection to this increase in taxes is, I don’t think I’m getting my money’s worth,” he said.
Davis continued to point out several issues, including the broken Millpond Bridge, missing light poles, and issues with the swimming pool and sports court.
“You’re running a business here,” he said. “I don’t know if any of you look at it that way, but you have a $2 million budget and you’re accountable to the people who pay more taxes… I’m not getting my money’s worth and I’m not at all happy about it.”
Grant Snow spoke about problems with Stansbury Lake.
“We need to truly appreciate the wildlife in this lake that cannot be found anywhere else,” he said.
Snow also talked about the large amount of trash located around the lake and spoke about coming up with a plan to make the community sustainable.
“At some point we need to start planning, not just coming up with ideas and seeing if they work,” he said. “We actually need a plan.”
Jessica Johnson who has been a resident of Stansbury for 25 years spoke about how difficult it is becoming for many residents to pay their bills.
“All of us are suffering right now,” she said. “All of us are making hard, painful decisions in our family’s budget.”
Johnson suggested that residents of Stansbury Park volunteer to pick up trash and keep their community clean instead of increasing taxes.
“We can do better as a board,” she said. “Right now, we just need to clean up the garbage and fix the things we have first.”
The service agency will meet again on Dec. 14 at 6 p.m. at the clubhouse to vote on the increase.
To learn more about the increase, contact the Stansbury Park Service Agency at 435-882-6188.