Get breaking news alerts via email

Click here to manage your alerts
Planners encourage Salt Lake County annexation protest

County likely to oppose area joining Holladay until it learns impact on rest of taxpayers in unincorporated areas.

First Published Jan 20 2014 01:01 am • Last Updated Jan 20 2014 09:38 am

Respect our rights to self-determination, pleaded proponents of annexing an extended unincorporated-area neighborhood of more than 3,600 residents into Holladay City.

But the Millcreek Township Planning Commission decided last week that it owed a greater obligation to the rest of Salt Lake County’s unincorporated-area residents who don’t know how their taxes would be impacted by the secession.

At a glance

Proposed annexation

A financial analysis of the ongoing effort to annex the Olympus Hills neighborhood into Holladay found that:

» About 1,357 households are located in the 400-acre area

» The 3,655 people living there would increase Holladay’s population by 14 percent

» Almost exclusively residential, the area has a small commercial strip at 2900 E. 4430 South that employes 24 people

» Projected revenues to the city of $1.1 million annually are likely to be offset by costs of $1.2 million

Source: Zions Bank Public Finance

Join the Discussion
Post a Comment

Planners voted 4-1 to encourage the Salt Lake County Council to continue its protest against the proposed move of the "Olympus Hills" neighborhood into Holladay, a formal recommendation that will be made at the council’s Tuesday meeting.

Pursuing that protest will trigger the creation of a Boundary Commission, which then will hire a consultant to prepare a feasibility study evaluating the financial impacts of the proposed annexation. It involves the area between 2700 East and Interstate 215 from 3900 South to 4500 South.

Holladay City already retained Zions Bank to examine some of the numbers. Zions’ analysis, City Attorney Craig Hall told the planning commission, showed the annexation would be revenue neutral, actually costing the city an additional $96,000 annually.

"Statistically, that’s a wash," Hall said, citing the study’s no-impact finding as being sufficient to satisfy the requirement for a feasibility study.

But County Township Executive Patrick Leary and representatives of four community councils in Millcreek Township — Millcreek, Mt. Olympus, Canyon Rim and East Millcreek, which includes the area seeking annexation — said the city-funded study did not address what happens to the rest of the unincorporated area if this one chunk is lost.

Even if the annexation itself is revenue neutral, they maintained unincorporated-area residents could be stuck with other impacts — for example, paying off bonds for the Unified Police Department and Unified Fire Authority with fewer people to foot the bill.

"We know there are winners and losers in annexations and there will be tax implications to the rest of the unincorporated area," Leary said, contending the residents outside of Olympus Hills "have a vested interest in understanding what that will be."

A more detailed feasibility study will provide needed answers, he added.

story continues below
story continues below

His position resonated with most commission members.

"I believe in the wisdom of the community councils and they’ve all asked for the feasibility study," said Tom Stephens, emphasizing that planners "are not making a statement in opposition to the annexation."

Added commissioner Ann Ober, "It’s important to have a discussion with all the information we can get."

But her colleague, Leslie Riddle, said she doubts the results of a new study will differ much from the Zions Bank analysis, especially considering the Olympus Hills annexation involves just 3,600 of the unincorporated county’s 160,000 residents.

"Look at the cost of a feasibility study that will likely turn out the same answer. It’s a waste of money," Riddle said, maintaining that withdrawing the protest and allowing the annexation to proceed would be "a good opportunity for the county to demonstrate it supports self-determination."

"We need you to speak in our behalf," implored annexation supporter Keith White, noting that the petition drive secured far more signatures than required by law.

"If there are compelling reasons why this is hurting others, I can see why you would protest. But the way we set this up, I can’t see any logical reason to protest and to not allow the will of our neighborhood to be fulfilled."

His neighbor, Susan Pohlman, was more emphatic, contending Olympus Hills residents have always thought of themselves as part of Holladay. "I resent roadblocks being put in our way because that’s [Holladay] where we want to be," she said.

Added Eric Rasmussen: "We have determined that [annexation] is what we want. … I don’t feel White City, Magna or any other unincorporated area should have a say on what we want to do in our area."

Diane Angus, a 20-year veteran on the Millcreek Community Council, disagreed. She said unincorporated-area residents deserve to have their impacts evaluated, too.

"Annexations put a burden on people who want to stay with the county and appreciate the services it provides," she said. "I have seen lots of annexations that have eroded our tax base, and our residents are left to continue paying for services. We’re constantly being put into that position. It seems like it never stops."

Next Page >

Copyright 2014 The Salt Lake Tribune. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.

Top Reader Comments Read All Comments Post a Comment
Click here to read all comments   Click here to post a comment

About Reader Comments

Reader comments on sltrib.com are the opinions of the writer, not The Salt Lake Tribune. We will delete comments containing obscenities, personal attacks and inappropriate or offensive remarks. Flagrant or repeat violators will be banned. If you see an objectionable comment, please alert us by clicking the arrow on the upper right side of the comment and selecting "Flag comment as inappropriate". If you've recently registered with Disqus or aren't seeing your comments immediately, you may need to verify your email address. To do so, visit disqus.com/account.
See more about comments here.
Staying Connected
Contests and Promotions
  • Search Obituaries
  • Place an Obituary

  • Search Cars
  • Search Homes
  • Search Jobs
  • Search Marketplace
  • Search Legal Notices

  • Other Services
  • Advertise With Us
  • Subscribe to the Newspaper
  • Access your e-Edition
  • Frequently Asked Questions
  • Contact a newsroom staff member
  • Access the Trib Archives
  • Privacy Policy
  • Missing your paper? Need to place your paper on vacation hold? For this and any other subscription related needs, click here or call 801.204.6100.