The proposal to create a special taxing district to fund recreation in Juab County is dead.
Protests by some of the area's largest taxpayers have effectively blocked the proposal.Members of the East Juab Physical Fitness Committee - who claim the majority of residents of the three eastern Juab communities supported the proposal - complained that county purse strings are being controlled by large corporations. The fitness committee is a non-profit volunteer organization governing recreation in the eastern end of the county.
Juab County Commissioners received letters of protest to the proposed special services recreation district from some of the county's largest property holders on Monday.
Martin Marietta Cement, Coastal States Energy Co., Union Pacific Railroad and Deseret Generation all registered written protests with the commission.
Utah Power & Light Co., American Telephone and Telegraph, and the Intermountain Power Service Corp. all delivered letters of protest before the 5 p.m. deadline on Tuesday, last day for protest.
Letters of protest were also received from Don Jones, Ross Harper, Golden Magelson, Marion Wankier, Farrel Winn, Mitchell Worwood, Marilyn Worwood, Carl Worwood, Dennis Worwood, Craig Worwood, Karen Worwood, and Max Williams, all large-property owners.
Monday, commissioners had not received many letters in favor of the proposal although many came in before the deadline on Tuesday. At a recent public hearing 48 votes were cast in favor of the proposal.
"I have had several phone calls from people who do not seem to want the recreation district," said Commissioner Richard Brough. "I have not been getting letters or phone calls from any who support the district."
Don Eyre Jr., Juab County attorney, said that according to state law, if owners of property valued at 51 percent of the proposed area's tax value protest the creation of the district, the proposal automatically is defeated. Although many ranchers pay as little as $2 per acre in taxes on acres assessed at $800 per acre because their property is considered greenbelt, property is calculated on taxable value.
Pat Greenwood, county clerk and auditor, said the value of the property owned by the protesting individuals and corporations is $113,479,428, nearly $5 million more than needed to defeat the proposal.
This is the fourth time the plan to create a recreation district in Juab County has been proposed by citizens in the county. Each time the proposal has been defeated by commissioners, although this is the first time it has been defeated by a protest of such numbers.
"Our young people need something," said Brough, "but this may not be the answer."
Eyre thought the protest by large property owners was strange in light of the fact they had not protested the formation of two special service districts last year. "Someone has been out to solicit protests," said Eyre.