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After years under a gentleman's agreement, the Glenmoor Special Service District is getting out from under the city's wings.

The district, which maintains green space within Glenmoor Country Estates between 4000 and 4800 West and 9600 and 10200 South, reached an agreement with city leaders Wednesday that divides the work and gives the district more independence.The relationship between the two ran relatively smoothly during the past three years, while the service district bid its labor to South Jordan. City crews mowed and watered the grass and maintained the parks for less than $20,000 a year. Then, this spring when the contract was up for renewal, the price tag had jumped to $57,000.

Officials from the service district balked at the price - almost their entire $70,000 budget, which wouldn't leave money to pay the water bill or buy new trees or equipment.

City leaders contend they've subsidized the district for years and welcomed it to take bids from independent contractors. "We don't have to do the work," said City Administrator Dave Millheim.

District Chairman Ron Holt said the district has always operated within its own budget. But, for more than 10 years, the district has maintained strips of grass and trees that were the city's property. The park strips took more money to keep up than the district's allotted 7 percent of what each homeowner pays to the county in property taxes.

The city will maintain the parks strips, areas of green space running on the side or back of a lot and are not maintained by the property owner, under terms of the agreement. Park strips turned back to the city include those on 4000 West, 10200 South and Skye Drive (4400 West).

"It's a win-win situation for both of us," Holt said after Wednesday's meeting. "Now we can get started on long-term projects," like repairing and building new sidewalks and buying new playground equipment in the mini-parks.

The district advertised for more bids and has hired an independent contractor for about $20,000. The contractor started work this week.

A major portion of the the district is made up of a subdivision that was heralded as a "premier community" when it was built in 1978, with sidewalks linking back yards and running to miniparks. A homeowner's association was formed. But, the bylaws were poorly written stating residents "may" pay, Holt said. The result was only about one-third of the homeowners paying, and the association went bankrupt in just a few years.

"(The developer) got his fingers into more pies than you can shake a stick at," Holt said. "He overextended himself and got into legal trouble and put the homeowner's association in a tailspin."

The lightheads on the sidewalk lamps were taken back by Utah Power and the golf course ended up in private hands. The mini-parks would have turned to weed patches had the district not been created, Holt said.

Holt said the district spends about $30,000 a year to cut 16 acres of grass and another $30,000 for water. Then there's maintenance for sprinklers and new trees.

Homeowners pay depending on property value of their home - most pay between $80 and $120 a year. The district can't raise its tax unless it goes through a public hearing process and a vote.

Since it was formed, first the subdivision and later the service district, has been plagued with problems. Some city leaders admit Glenmoor has, at times, been overlooked.

City councilman W. Kent Money said last week the City Council needs to remember that Glenmoor is part of South Jordan.