I read the notice in the Sanpete Messenger last week that a hearing is being held in Orem this week to raise the amount of Sanpete County property taxes collected by the Central Utah Water Conservancy District again.
I do not understand this. I was told by the CUWCD that the reason for the increase is to continue to pay for the construction of the Jordanelle Dam—and now to pay for repair and replacement costs. How long will this continue?
Why am I concerned? As a nine-plus-year resident of Ephraim with no farm land and no family connections, I have never received a single dollar of direct benefit. This is in spite of paying hundreds of dollars in taxes.
I did attend a similar hearing in Manti a few years ago. The CUWCD seemed interested in telling how much money they had given to the county, but they did not have an answer for what benefit the residents had received for all the dollars collected. (About $280,000 a year.)
A few years ago when, I asked the Ephraim City Council to request money from the CUWCD to help with the purchase of water shares, water pipes and the drilling of a well.
I learned that at one time CUWCD money was available for projects in Sanpete County, which has not and never will receive any water from the CUWCD. But at the time I inquired, money was no longer available for projects in Sanpete County. It might be noted that Ephraim does not have a secondary water system for the residents.
I support the Narrows Project and have written two letters in support. When I asked the spokesperson for the CUWCD if the district had done anything to support the Sanpete County Water Conservancy District, she said the board had listened to a presentation from the SCWCD.
When I asked if CUWCD had given money or letters of support to SCWCD, she again said they listened to the presentation. I took that to be a NO. She also said the Sanpete conservancy district had made no requests for assistance.
I was able to talk to two members of the SCWCD, but was not able to find out if in fact a request had been made to the CUWCD or if the CUWCD had provided any help on the 80-year-old Narrows effort.
Some nearby counties have opted out of the CUWCD. I made this recommendation at an Ephraim City council meeting. A public discussion of this should be held to consider the benefits, or the lack thereof, to the residents. I would also like to know who or how the CUWCD tax increase is approved or denied the after the public hearing? Will this tax continue and to increase forever?