Salt Lake soccer stadium atop delinquent tax list

SALT LAKE CITY (AP) — An official with the Real Salt Lake soccer team says the tax bill for Rio Tinto Stadium should be paid soon, and the team isn’t in financial trouble. The Salt Lake Tribune reported Monday that real estate developers and construction companies accounted for almost 30 percent of the $78.5 million in delinquent taxes the newspaper found in Salt Lake, Utah and Davis counties. But the tax on the stadium totaling more than $1.5 million makes the team the single largest tax delinquent in the region, the Tribune reported. Team public affairs chief Trey Fitz-Gerald called the delinquency an oversight and said the bill should be paid within a couple of weeks. Logan developer Del Loy Hansen is a co-owner of Rio Tinto Stadium and Real Salt Lake. Utah County Treasurer Robert C. Kirk said more developers failed to pay property taxes when the recession deepened in 2007 and sales and construction slowed. He said that dropped his county’s overall on-time payment rate from 91 percent to 88 percent. A Tribune analysis found commercial owners of apartments, offices and shopping centers accounted for about 4 percent of all late taxes. Banks and mortgage companies accounted for about 3 percent. County treasurers were divided about how much late payments hurt local governments, and whether changes in the law are needed. Newly elected Salt Lake County treasurer Wayne Cushing said he wanted to see whether a change the Legislature made last year may encourage delinquents to pay more quickly. If they pay 2010 taxes owed by Jan. 31, the penalty is 1 percent. After that, the penalty is 2.5 percent plus interest of 7 percent retroactive to the Nov. 30 due date for taxes. Kirk said some state treasurers were discussing legislation that would let Utah counties sell the debt from unpaid taxes to investors so counties don’t have to wait years for payment.

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