Salt Lake County’s proposal to issue $47 million in bonds to fund the development of parks and trails in the valley looks likely to be approved in Tuesday’s election, according to a new Salt Lake Tribune poll.
Roughly 52 percent of county residents favor Proposition No. 1, while 37 percent are opposed and 11 percent are undecided, according to the poll of 625 registered county voters conducted Monday through Wednesday by Mason-Dixon Polling & Research. The poll has a margin of error of plus or minus 4 percentage points.
The results were released Thursday, the same day County Mayor Peter Corroon was joined by Salt Lake City Mayor Ralph Becker in a news conference touting the mutual support of the valley’s two largest government agencies for the proposal, which would complete the Jordan River Parkway and Parleys Trail, develop regional parks in Draper, Bluffdale and Kearns and buy land for another regional park in Magna.
They spoke hours after bond opponents filed a lawsuit in 3rd District Court, seeking to invalidate the election on technical grounds if the bond measure passes. Foes fear its proceeds could be diverted to a controversial soccer-field plan for northern Salt Lake City.
The three residents who filed the lawsuit — Jeff Salt, Danny Potts and Eric Harvey — contend the bond has five legal flaws, starting with an incorrect title and including the ballot’s failure to describe the specific projects to be funded.
“We’re not against parks and trails. We’re all for that,” said Potts, of Salt Lake City. “We just want to make sure the public gets what was promised and to prevent a $47 million bait-and-switch from happening.”
Corroon said Thursday their fears were unfounded.
He said the six projects would be “great amenities in communities without regional parks [now], where the population is and population will be in the future.”
Although much of this bond’s proceeds will be used outside of Salt Lake City, Becker said city residents will get a fair share of benefits from the Jordan River work. Besides, he added, “we’re part of a region. When we can connect trails and give everyone in the region a chance to use them, we all benefit.”
If voters say yes to the 20-year bond, it would mean a property tax increase of $5.73 per year for the owner of a $238,000 home (the median price for residential properties in the county) and $10.24 for a business of the same value.
In The Tribune poll, support for the bond was markedly higher among Democrats (79 percent) than Republicans (37 percent) and among non-Mormons (70 percent) than members of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints (43 percent). More women (54 percent) favored the bond than men (50 percent).
The LDS vote was evenly split, 43 percent for and 43 percent against, while 14 percent were undecided. While only 18 percent of Democrats said they planned to vote against the bond, Republicans were more divided — 45 percent against, 37 percent for and 18 percent undecided. There were only a few undecided among independents, who endorsed the proposal 58 percent to 35 percent.