Editorial Board | Lehi Free Press
During the morning and evening commute in Lehi, we all know that thousands of people travel through town from all over the valley to get to and from work. While there may not be any choice in providing roads and infrastructure to non-residents, what about recreation at the Legacy Center? It’s time for Lehi City to stop the fleecing of Lehi taxpayers by non-residents.
Lehi residents spent over $9.3 million ($16 million in current dollars) in the early 2000s to construct the Legacy Center and have subsequently subsidized the facility’s operation every year since.
Last year alone, Lehi taxpayers subsidized the Legacy Center to the tune of $1,931,717, about $266 per household, whether those taxpayers used the facility or not.
Currently, 74.59% of Legacy Center members are residents of Lehi, and 25.41% are non-residents.
While Lehi taxpayers paid for the building and continue to subsidize the facility each year, why can non-residents reap the benefits by only paying a marginal increase on annual memberships?
Currently, a Lehi resident individual membership is $290, while a non-resident individual pays $315 annually, only 8% more than the Lehi resident rate.
A Lehi resident family pays $510 per year, while a non-residentfamily membership is priced at $565, only a 10% premium.
During last year’s City Council discussion about raising the rates for Legacy Center memberships, Councilman Paul Hancock lobbied multiple times to increase the non-resident rate to shift more of the budget burden to non-residents. His request fell on deaf ears.
Cities throughout Utah County have a much more aggressive rate hike on non-residents than Lehi.
For example, at the Provo Recreation Center, Provo resident individual memberships are $285 per year, while non-residents pay $355, a 24% upcharge. A Provo resident family membership is $493. Non-residents are priced at $618 annually, a 25% premium.
Springville’s recreational facility individual memberships come in at $280 annually, while non-resident individuals pay $360, 28% more. Springville resident families pay $475, and non-resident families pay $620, a 30% increase over residents.
Recently, Saratoga Springs voters overwhelmingly rejected a $70 million bond to build their own recreation center last November. Why would they want to tax their residents and build one when they can use Lehi’s without footing the bill? Saratoga residents even voiced that sentiment on social media.
It’s time for the City Council to make pricing adjustments to better balance the Legacy Center fee scale to favor Lehi taxpayers. After all, Lehi taxpayers have been paying the bill for over two decades.