$21 Million for Rec Center? Springville Voters to Decide


Springville residents will soon vote on whether to approve a $21 million tax-funded bond to build a public recreation center. What impact would this bond and rec center have on Springville taxpayers, businesses and families? Watch this video report to find out:


Here’s the script for the video:

VOICE-OVER: What would you rather spend $100 on? A tax increase to pay for a $21 million government-run recreation center – which you may or may not use and which will compete with private gyms in your community – or on groceries and clothes for your family? According to Springville city officials, residents would rather spend their $100 on higher taxes.

ALEX ROYLANCE: “We are proposing this project to Springville city in response to surveys that we have taken over the past several years, and speaking with our residents, a recreation center has always been one of the number one things they have asked the city to provide for them.”

VOICE-OVER: Alex Roylance, the director of buildings and grounds for Springville city, says there aren’t enough recreation centers in the city and explains what this project could mean for the private sector gyms already in place.

ROYLANCE: “The private sector offerings are very limited. We do have a couple of private fitness facilities that some Springville residents do enjoy, but apart from that, it’s very limited on what we have in our city. It’s our desire to do our very best to limit the impact on our private businesses; we are trying not to offer the same things that they are offering. We probably will offer some same things, but we are going to be offering a lot of things that our current Anytime Fitness doesn’t offer.”

VOICE-OVER: Even though Springville city is going to do its very best to not impact the city’s private gyms, a similar gym in Sandy felt the impact when government stepped in. Life Center lost 15 percent of its business when Dimple Dell Recreation center was built. The owner, TJ Buxton, explains what happens when government competes with the private sector.

TJ BUXTON: “It’s a tough enough market as it is, and it’s tough enough to compete with those who are in your same realm, those who are trying to make profit out of a business. Obviously, if the county comes and puts up a facility that’s not a moneymaker, they can lose money, much like the one over here at Dimple Dell is losing each month.”

VOICE-OVER: Mr. Buxton goes on to explain why private sector gyms can lose members when publicly funded recreation centers are built.

BUXTON: “Several of our members thought, ‘Well, you know what, I can pay less by going over to this facility, and since I’m already paying for it anyway with my taxes, I’m going to leave and go use their facility.”

VOICE-OVER: In Springville not only would the private sector gyms feel the impact, but residents would also see a property tax hike. Alex Roylance explains.

ROYLANCE: “Currently, an average home in Springville has been valued at $169,900. So a family with a home of that size, their monthly bond obligation is a little bit over $8 a month.”

VOICE-OVER: Jacki Dover, with the Utah Taxpayers Association, does not think this is fair to Springville residents.

JACKI DOVER: “Over the next 25 years, with principle and interest, citizens are going to be paying over $34 million for this recreation facility. So it’s going to be a never-ending cost for taxpayers.”

VOICE-OVER: She also believes the bond could be handled more effectively.

DOVER: “If the bond was only a 20-year term bond instead of a 25-year bond, they would be able to save taxpayers over $5 million in interest.”

VOICE-OVER: So what can residents of Springville city do if they do not want this recreation center to be built?

DOVER: “We think that the most important thing that needs to happen is that Springville residents need to vote against the bond on Election Day. Election Day is November 8th.”

VOICE-OVER: Remember, all public policy changes lives. For Sutherland Institute, I’m Alexis Young.