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RECREATION DISTRICT DEFEAT UNLIKELY TO SPUR CHALLENGE

The Alta Canyon Recreational District probably won't challenge last week's controversial defeat of a $3.5 million bond issue because the number of suspect ballots couldn't have changed the outcome.

The proposal was defeated 3,722 to 2,957, about 100 votes more than the 650 the county election clerk said were improperly cast by county residents. The vote was supposed to have been open only to Sandy city residents within the recreational district, which roughly encompasses the city's southeast quadrant."It looks like it was a lot closer than the initial count, but it just doesn't justify spending any additional money on another election," said Nancy Shay, the Alta Canyon Sports Center's executive director.

The bond issue would have allowed for expansion of the center, including addition of a gymnasium and indoor pool.

Shay, noting that the district's board of directors meets Wednesday to canvass the vote, said the county has already reviewed the results and found that votes cast by county residents in five of the city's 22 voting districts wouldn't have been enough to change the outcome, even if every county resident had voted no.

Shay said questions were also raised in two districts where city residents did not know the issue was tucked away at the end of the ballot and didn't vote on it. But fewer than 20 city households were in those districts.

"If you say there are two voters or even three in each of those households, we still wouldn't come up with enough to challenge the 765-vote difference," said Shay.

Despite the defeat, Shay said the district's directors may opt to resurrect the issue in the future, though probably not this year. One of the chief reasons for pursuing it now, she said, was low market interest rates, which are now around 5.5 percent, for such long-term municipal bonds.

Had it passed, the proposal would've extended by 12 years the district's average $70 annual property tax on homes in southeast Sandy. It would've allowed for the center's long-term debt to be retired in the year 2008 instead of 1996.

The center, with about 2,400 members, gets part of its revenue from memberships fees, charging $120 annually for a basic family membership.