Provo approves tax increase for parks

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Students will have to add an additional six cents to a $60 pair of jeans now that the Provo Recreation Arts and Parks tax is approved.

Katie Nielson
Parks in Provo will be receiving upgrades over the next ten years, but at a cost to Provo Shoppers. (Katie Nielson)

Residents of the city of Provo voted to increase sales taxes with the passage of the parks tax on Nov. 3, 2015. The bill passed with 55.6 percent of voters favoring the change, and went into effect January 2016.

The money gained from this tax increase will go to the Provo Parks and Recreation Department for improvements to current Provo parks.

The improvements include updates to the Covey Center for the Arts, new play sets at existing parks, improvements for park amenities, such as restrooms and lighting, and improved maintenance of the Provo Recreation Center.

According to the Provo City Council the new tax will generate about $1.2 million per year, for the next 10 years.

“The Provo Parks and Recreation department is currently doing a commendable job with the current budget. Provo City’s parks are not in visible disrepair,” Kay Van Buren, Provo City Council member, said.

In October, the Provo City Council held a public hearing in order to discuss and make statements for and against the parks tax.

Robin Roberts, the Chairman of the Parks and Recreation Board, was the first to speak on the proposed tax. He urged citizens to vote yes on the tax and pledged full support from the Parks and Recreation Board.

Pam Jones, a Provo resident, spoke against the parks tax at the City Council meeting. She argued that another tax would hurt those with low and fixed incomes.

“It might be just a tiny amount for most people, but there are some where it is a big part of their budget,” Jones said.

Jones also questioned why the Parks and Recreation Department could not stick to the already proposed budget that the city had allotted them.

Similar tax increases proposed in other Utah County cities did not pass. The City of Spanish Fork voted against a proposed property tax increase in order to fund a proposed recreation center, similar to the one in Provo.

In a close election, 51.9 percent of Lehi residents voted against the parks tax while 48.1 percent voted in favor.

 

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