Local Improvement Districts
A Local Improvement (or Assessment) District can be created by participating property owners to make common improvements to property that benefits all property owners within the district. The rules for formation and governance are a matter of state law.
With the help of Rep. David Clark and Sen. Steve Urquhart a revision to the Utah Code was successfully passed in the 2011 legislative session which added landslide abatement to the list of conditions for which a special or local improvement district could be formed. The revised law goes into effect on May 11, 2011. Property owners affected by earth movement or landslide issues will now have the right to form a taxing district to essentially tax themselves to sell municipal bonds in order to raise the funds necessary to stabilize hillsides that are in danger to property and life.
We will post information in this section to help readers understand the law and issues involved. As more information about the scope and size of the landslide is made evident, the size of the proposed district may expand.
Revised language in Utah Code Section 17B
Link to entire Utah Code Section 17B - Local Service Districts
Forming a Special Assessment District is one way which allows property owners to agree to tax themselves in order to raise the money necessary to stabilize the landslide and repair property damaged by the slide. A majority of owners must vote and agree to form the District. The creation and sale of General Obligation Bonds is the financing mechanism which can generate the necessary funds. Repayment of the bonds is a shared obligation of the participating property owners and becomes an added property tax assessed to each parcel.
Discussions are underway with Zions Bank, Public Financing Division and several attorneys who specialize in the formation of Local Improvement Districts. Zions Bank acts as a facilitator to package and sell the bonds and may elect to invest directly in the project bond as well.
An Association of Special Districts exists to help property owners with the issues and management of local tax district operations. LeGrand Bitter, executive director of the Utah Association of Special Districts, has been especially supportive in our efforts and continues to be a valuable resource for our project.
Link to Utah Association of Special Districts
We will post information about the estimated costs and proposed additional tax burden on affected property owners as it becomes available.