Poll participants say 'no' on bond
Last week I conducted a Facebook poll on the Lehi City $50 million general obligation parks bond. The poll is completely unscientific. It simply shows the opinions from a handful of the People of Lehi who saw and responded to the poll's one question, "Do you support the Lehi $50 million bond?"
We just moved into a new house two blocks east of Wines Park. We love the park and love how long it's been here. It's a wonderful place for community events, walking the dogs, gatherings, and as a place of fun and relaxation. The park was built many years ago - at a time when the population was a fraction it is today. As our population grows, one of the things we miss the most are the rolling hills and fields of open space and farmland. It will be but a short time before Lehi will be completely urbanized with little green space left. I believe it is up to the citizenry of the city to determine how they best want the city to grow.
With that said, I think The City has put a lot of time and effort into providing a viable course of action to maintain our current parks, build new parks and to provide space for new parks in the future as our population pushes 100,000 people over the next decade or so. I'm convinced the new parks and the maintenance of our current parks will provide great solace and enjoyment to our citizens for the next century. I believe an investment into parks and park maintenance is a good one.
Is a $50 million bond the right way to invest in this park initiative? I believe there are better ways and personally do not support the bond.
The thing I fear most about bonds including this one is the tax burden it places on individuals and households. It seems a $15 per month increase to property taxes "of the average resident with a home valued at $281,000," isn't that much. But when you add that amount to current property taxes and to the burden additional bonds may add later from the city or other entities, it starts adding up. I do not support unbridled and unnecessary tax increases. I also call upon the city to NOT trivialize the potential burden a 'small' increase in property taxes will have on individuals with comments such as, "just $15 per month." Instead, break it all out at different levels of property values and indicate exactly how it will impact owners, renters, and those on fixed incomes. Provide the facts, not just the sales pitch.
There are times when a bond may be necessary to fund good and smart projects for our community after only first exhausting all other avenues with current revenue. We must first ensure taxation of any kind does not place undue burden on our citizens already burdened with federal, state and local taxes. (There are several indicators pointing to the fact this bond could create a burden. Especially those on fixed incomes.)
If voters pass this bond, I call upon Lehi City officials to do everything within their power to:
As for me, I see bonds as something we may need to use on occasion, but only as a last and final resort of badly needed services. I applaud the work the city has done in preparing a case and a course for parks in a fast growing city, but encourage them to look now for better ways to fund things without new bonds or tax increases. I personally would love to see more space devoted to parks, but we need to find a viable way to fund them.
Voters have a lot to think about regarding this bond. I encourage all voters to go vote. I personally am not encouraging voters to vote for or against the bond. I will respect and abide the decision of the voters.
Lehi City is holding a community meeting on the bond, Thursday, Oct. 27, 7:00 pm at Eaglecrest Elementary, 2760 North 300 West, Lehi, UT.
A. Cory Maloy
A. Cory Maloy (R) was elected to the Utah House of Representatives for District 6 on Nov. 8, 2016