Bill Gives Extell 15 Year Extension On Taxes Going To MIDA Area, Not Wasatch County

A bill working its way through the state legislature could mean a 15-year extension on redirecting Mayflower Mountain Resort’s taxes to the MIDA area in the Wasatch County. Meaning 75% of the incremental taxes collected by the resort would not go to county coffers for 40 years.

By building Mayflower Mountain Resort within the Military Installation Development Authority, Manhattan-based developer Extell will not pay 75% of taxes to Wasatch County entities for at least 25 years. That percentage of Mayflower Mountain’s taxes will be used instead to improve the infrastructure of the MIDA controlled area, about 5,000 acres within the county.

Now the company and the state created development agency are asking for an additional 15 years of not paying 75% of their taxes to Wasatch County entities.

Utah State Senator Jerry Stevenson of Davis County has been a part of MIDA since its inception in 2008. His bill SB 192 addresses public service infrastructure between MIDA and the service district and transportation districts in Wasatch County. Stevenson explained adding the 15-year extension would put MIDA in line with other state development authorities such as the Inland Port and the Point of the Mountain Development Authority. Both entities have 40-year tax increment measures available to the developer within their areas.

“If we look at the land use process that we’ve gone through, everything we’ve done, we’ve done in conjunction with the local land authorities, and in most cases follow their lead,” Stevenson explained. “I think what we’re doing with Wasatch County we’ve been a couple of years getting to where we are. This bill just kind of clarify some of the things that we would like to do. Wasatch County is very well aware of what we’re doing here.”

Stevenson explains that directing tax allocations back to MIDA is no different than when other large corporations are lured to different cities and states with incentives.

“Sometimes you get an economic development project that are much larger than one entity can take care of,” Stevenson continued. “That was the reason for the creation of MIDA. That’s why we’re the conduit for taking care of the property west of Hill (Airforce Base) and why this is working the way it is. But the taxpayer wins on these things because we’re able to track these types of investments. There’s no way this would have ever come together without a vehicle like MIDA.”

At the Wednesday Wasatch County Council meeting, MIDA and Extell came to the county to ask for their symbolic approval of the decision. Council Chair Danny Goode asked MIDA representative Heather Cruze why they were asking for the 15-year extension.

“The infrastructure is going to be much larger than what was originally proposed,” Cruze explained. “So, the financing is going to be a bigger number, a bigger ask than originally planned.”

“So, can we get just an estimate on percentage—do you think—is it going to be 25% larger, the infrastructure than what we anticipated two years ago?” Goode asked.

“We’re probably 67% larger.” Senior Vice President of Development at Extell Kurt Krieg answered.

Although Wasatch County Council did voluntarily enter into the original MIDA agreement. Council now does not have a say in whether the tax reallocation runs for the previously agreed-upon 25 years or the 40 years the authority is proposing.

Cruze clarified that the 15-year extension would only apply to the Extell properties on the west side of US 40. The other side made up of mostly other development has not requested the same extension but could opt into the 15-year extension if they show the same need of infrastructure growth. Krieg said he thinks it’s important the county recognize their relationship with MIDA moving forward.

“They openly came to this council to say we would like your support even though we don’t need it,” Krieg said. “So, I think that was the action of why they were looking to secure it, was to move forward in lockstep. As we share with many of you, which we can’t fully disclose yet, but the caliber of the resort and the world class nature were providing as much different than what was originally anticipated back in the Blue Ledge days in 2012 and 2014. So, that’s why we come and ask to make this county better and really place it in the world realm on a map.”

Council indicated they would again look at the item at their March 18th meeting. Although the council was told several times at the meeting, they have no choice in what happens, the actual bill that would allow MIDA to give Extell the 15-year extension is currently in the legislature. SB 192 has passed through the Senate and will next appear in the House Business and Labor Committee where Heber Rep. Tim Quinn and Park City Rep. Brian King both serve as committee members.

Read the original story at KPCW.org