Commission abates taxes at golf course
The local golf course is a mixture of private and public property and operates as a quasi government-private industry.
Due to the complex relationship, the Carbon Country Club board asked the county last summer to abate the property taxes on the private first nine holes at the course.
The request resulted in study and legal research by Carbon County officials. On Dec. 30, the officials presented the findings to the commission.
"It has been a very complicated issue to research," pointed out clerk-auditor Bob Pero. "A section in the law allows the commission to grant an abatement, but the organization must be non-profit, charitable or educational."
The country club requested the abatement on the front nine holes, not on any buildings or the clubhouse, explained Pero. The county owns the second nine holes, constructed in the mid-1990s.
The commissioners turned to assessor Nancy Ferderber to find out what the taxes on the property have been.
The amount has been "low, only about $1,400," indicated Ferderber. But the assessor said the taxes would probably rise after the reassessment of properties in the county.
The agreement between the Carbon County and the country club specifies that all profits are to be put back into the operation, pointed out Commissioner Bill Krompel.
"Any new income we get always goes back into running and working on the course," replied golf pro Tom King.
According to research completed by assistant county attorney George Harmond , the commission could legally grant the country club's request and abate the taxes.
But the country club would have to submit the requests annually, indicated Carbon County Attorney Gene Strate during the commission meeting.
"This situation is very unique," stated Strate. "There is nothing else like it in the county."
If the county decides to abate the taxes, Commissioner Steve Burge was concerned that other entities may request the same consideration.
"The only reason this was done was because our board was advised by our attorney to do so," said King. "Besides, this would add money to our bottom line, which would be invested back into the course."
As the lawmakers decided to take a vote in the matter, Commissioner Mike Milovich indicated that he is a stockholder in the country club and would not participate in the decision process due to a potential conflict of interest.
The other two commissioners voted to abate the property taxes at the golf course for the years 2003 and 2004. The decision regarding 2003 was made because the request to eliminate the charge was made before the tax deadline.
Introducing an unrelated matter at the meeting, county technical manager Frank Brady told the commission that Carbon government had received permission to put a radio tower in Nine Mile Canyon to improve communications.
"This will finally give us radio coverage for the road department and public safety in the canyon," pointed out the county's technical manager.
The communication problem in the canyon has been a concern for many years.
Due to the steep cliffs and washes, county employees and law enforcement agencies have never been able to communicate with public safety dispatch. The situation will be changed once the tower is installed in the canyon.
The commission also granted two zoning change requests and one conditional use permit during the meeting.
The conditional use permit was approved for Nextel Communications to construct a 140-foot tower on Wood Hill as a cellular phone site.
The only concern about the tower came from the county's technical manager. Brady was worried that the tower could conflict with some county equipment in the area. Milovich suggested that conditions be put on the permits approval that should that happen, Nextel would have to fix any problem that occurred.
One of the zone changes involved changing 24 acres in Spring Glen from Mining and Grazing to Residential 2.5 on property north of Kenilworth Road for Frank Saccomano Jr.
The other matter involved approving a change of 11.84 acres from Residential 20,000 and Commercial 1 to Industrial 1 near Highway 6 just east of Price for John Houston of Intermountain Electronics. Both changes had been recommended by the county's planning and zoning commission and were approved.
The commission also reopened the 2003 budget to finalize it and make some adjustments.
"The problem is that bills will continue to come in for a few months that pertain to this budget and we have to make adjustments to compensate for them," Pero explained. He then proceeded to go over some proposed changes, in which he asked for approval to move some money around and to include surpluses in one area to apply to shortages in others.
Overall, there was little change in the two main budgets, fund 10 and fund 20. Fund 10 had total estimated revenues of $8,139,228 estimated expenditures of $7,738,372. Fund 20 had estimated revenues of $4,610,314 while estimated expenditures were $4,555,260.
The commission also performed its twice a year tradition of rotating the commission chair position. Until July 1 Krompel will serve in that capacity beginning with the next regular meeting.