Tribune Editorial: Something stinks in Sandy.

(Trent Nelson | The Salt Lake Tribune) Players stand for the national anthems of the United States and Switzerland, as the US Women's National Team faces Switzerland, soccer at Rio Tinto Stadium in Sandy, Wednesday October 19, 2016.

Something smells in Sandy, and it isn’t a community garden. It’s the Rio Tinto soccer stadium.

Over the last seven years, the Real Salt Lake pro soccer team has saved $5.4 million in property taxes after securing a property revaluation it promised it would never seek.

A commercial real estate agent recently unearthed documents that reveal a 2012 tax deal between owners of RSL and officials from Sandy City and Salt Lake County. The deal was buried in a county council packet that included at least 760 similar property value modifications, which the council, acting as the Board of Equalization, had to approve. The council never discussed or debated the property revaluation.

When RSL built the stadium, Sandy issued $11 million in bonds to help with construction costs. Sandy planned to use its share of the property tax from the stadium to make payments on the bonds.

But in 2011, two years after Dell Loy Hansen bought into team ownership, RSL notified the city it would be seeking a modification to the property tax valuation. Sandy’s development director was adamantly opposed.

Hansen then met with Sandy Mayor Tom Dolan and shortly thereafter the city reversed its opposition to the property revaluation. Hansen had cut a deal wherein the city received payments in lieu of taxes from RSL that made up for the lost tax revenue. Coincidentally, Hansen or RSL donated $10,000 to Dolan’s campaign in subsequent years.

With the city’s opposition quelled, the county dropped the property’s tax value by 42 percent, from $98.1 million to $56.7 million. The assessor’s office justifies the reduced value based on a “discounted cash flow analysis” due to “the team’s current negative cash flow.” In other words, Hansen provided documents showing that the team was losing money.

But the rest of the county wasn’t in on Sandy’s sweet deal. RSL has saved $2.7 million in taxes owed to the Canyons School District, $860,000 to the Jordan School District, $838,000 to Salt Lake County, $190,000 to county libraries and $700,000 to several water and sewer districts. Someone had to make up for that lost revenue.

Salt Lake County Council members don’t remember voting to approve the revaluation. That’s on them. It was the largest modification included on a list of only 29 parcels.

Dolan recently lost his bid for re-election, even before details of this stinky deal emerged. The voters of Sandy are obviously prescient.

Perhaps it was a reasonable revaluation, despite RSL’s promise not to ask for one. Business factors change. But the county assessor’s office is not the place to recoup business losses.

Especially through sweetheart deals that no one knows about.