06 January 2011

Can Stansbury Park have it's cake and eat it too?

It''s no secret that Stansbury Park is one of the great places to live here in Tooele County, or the world for that matter. Proximity to Salt Lake City, small town feel, it's awesome. However, I sometimes wonder about people. For several years, the residents of Stansbury Park have been clamoring to "incorporate" or become a city. Currently they are in the unincorporated part of Tooele County. The arguments for incorporation are many: population, as they are the second most populous entity in Tooele County. Lifestyle and affluence, average home sales price much larger than either Tooele or Grantsville. Their own identity, as evidenced by the fact that they often claim to be a city already. there are several others. They already have their own water and sewer system. They already have what is for all intents and purposes, their own Fire Dept. The reasons against incorporation are few, and perhaps only one: money. Unfortunately, that's a big one! At the moment, they have very little commercial tax base. A couple of strip malls and a convenience store won't get it done. There is a long-rumored grocery store in the development stage, but who knows when that will happen, given the economy. None of this is news, or what makes me smile at people a bit. But still they grumble about incorporation.

A couple of items hit the Transcript-Bulletin in the last couple of weeks that apply to Stansbury Park. The first, which I wrote about before, was a proposed tax increase for the North Tooele County Fire Department. The residents, almost to a person, were outraged at the thought of paying an additional $18 per year to maintain (or improve) the level of fire protection they have, and they weren't shy about saying so. I can't say I blame them in the current economy.

The second story was about a proposed tax by the County on all properties in unincorporated areas of the County (like Stansbury Park). The tax, a similar amount to the one proposed by the NTCFD, is to help defray the casts of providing "municipal services" such as law enforcement, animal control and engineering. Tooele County maintains that they've been running at a deficit the last several years in this area, and can't afford to continue. Without debating the truth of this statement, I understand the County position here as well. The funny part of this is that Stansbury residents aren't nearly as vocal in their opposition to this tax. The folks that are upset are the ones in the south end of the County, like Stockton and Rush Valley. They say that they don't use these services much, being as rural as they are, and that it would only benefit Stansbury Park. As a compromise, some have suggested that it be put to a vote. Remember what the second biggest population center in Tooele County is? Yeah, the ranchers aren't buying either.

Bottom line is, I don't think Stansbury Park is ready to incorporate, either intellectually or financially. They need to come to terms with the fact that they will have to provide all of those services themselves, on their own dime. They won't be able to talk a rancher out in Ibapah or a waitress in Wendover into paying for it. I think the should enjoy their status as a jewel in a County that has many jewels. Their time will come. In any event, Stansbury Park will remain an amazing place to be!


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