OGDEN — It could get a bit more expensive for homeowners and others with property around the Powder Mountain ski resort.
Weber County Commissioners are advancing plans to levy a special tax on owners of land adjacent to Summit Pass Road, the county-maintained road that connects many of the the pricey homes around Powder Mountain to State Road 158. On Tuesday, they approved a motion voicing their intent to pursue the new property tax, which would generate up to $125,000 a year. The next step before commissioners take final action will be a hearing scheduled for Nov. 24, when the public can sound off.
As is, the county pays around $1,000 per mile per year to remove snow from county roads in the urban cluster along either side of Interstate-15 into western Weber County and $7,000 per mile per year in the Ogden Valley area. Up around Powder Mountain, meanwhile, where the snow falls more heavily and gets blown around by high winds, complicating removal, the price jumps to $50,000 per mile per year, said Weber County Comptroller Scott Parke.
“So what’s happening is you have very few people who live up there, but they’re taking a huge amount of that service, those dollars, to maintain that road. So what we’re doing is we’re saying if you want to live on the top of the mountain, that’s fine, but you have to pay for your additional costs of living on the top of the mountain,” Parke said.
Around 300 parcels sit in the special district where the tax would be levied, south of the Box Elder County line, 70 of them with dwellings and the rest vacant. The district measures around 5,570 acres.
Commissioners touted the proposed new tax as a matter of fairness — making those who choose to own property around Powder Mountain cover the higher cost of maintaining the road in the zone. The Utah Department of Transportation maintains S.R. 158, the road that travels from the Eden area to the mountaintop resort, connecting into Summit Pass Road.
“This is fair for them. It’s for the people that use that road,” said Commissioner Jim Harvey. “It’s been very well vetted and it’s fair in my mind. So I can support this.”
Commissioner Scott Jenkins echoed that.
“I think it’s fair and it takes away part of the unfair burden that the other taxpayers in the county have been paying,” he said. The $125,000 the new tax would generate wouldn’t completely cover the cost of maintaining Summit Pass Road, a 2.9-mile road, he said. County officials approached the Powder Mountain owners about taking over Summit Pass Road or handling maintenance of the road, but they balked at the idea.
The county has been discussing the possibility of the property tax to cover road costs for about two years. At the end of the Nov. 24 hearing, commissioners can formally establish the new tax or set another date to take action, according to Parke. If approved, it would show up on affected property owners’ property tax bills next year, with the extra tax burden on a home valued at $1 million totaling around $385.