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Summit County Council Receives Recommendations For RAP Tax Recreation Grants

The Summit County Council on January 8th reviewed the recommendations for funding recreation projects, out of the Recreation, Arts and Parks tax.

Out of 16 applicants, only one was turned down entirely by the county’s Citizens Advisory Committee.   But County Council Members were sympathetic to finding some other source of funding for the candidate.

The chair for the Citizens Committee, Peter Tomai, said they had  $465,000 in RAP funds to disperse.

The rejected applicant, the Utah Avalanche Forecast Center, has asked for funds previously in 2017 and 2018.    Tomai said they didn’t request a large amount this year, some $9750.    But they were advised by the county attorney’s office that the RAP funds need to go for a capital project that is used by a public entity for some recreation purpose.      

“Even though they—I think everyone on the committee felt that they serve a very, valid public purpose—in fact, a very critical purpose, given in particular the history we’re seeing this year—the nature of the request, which was for education and didn’t meet the criteria.   So I think we’ll work with Utah Avalanche Center in the future, so that they understand those regulations a little bit better.”

Tomai said the Avalanche Center aimed to use the money for education.      

“It’s primarily expanding their Know Before You Go program, which is getting people aware of the program, because of the rapid increase in backcountry usage, both motorized and non-motorized use.  There’s a huge amount, as we see in the more distant areas, in snowmobile, backcountry if you can call it that.”

County Council Member Chris Robinson asked if they could find some  room in their budget for funding.    The Council heard that the Avalanche Center has received funding support from Park City, other counties in Utah, local ski resorts and the U.S. Forest Service, among others.

The other recipients recommended for funding mostly got their entire requests, or an amount fairly close to it.

Two recipients were recommended for funding, but with a considerable cut to their original request.    The Park City Ice Arena asked for about $178,000 for dasher boards, for the walls on the ice rink.    They were recommended for nearly $19,000.   Tomai said their committee felt the proposal wasn’t fully baked.        

“And I think there was a huge amount of concern that the contractor who was going to remove the old—they said they wanted to re-use, there was a lot of re-useable work for the dasher boards.  However, they didn’t have an immediate home for them.  So they were gonna be put in storage.   And I think all of us have seen what happens when someone stores something that they don’t think they’re ever going to touch again.”

Also, the Utah Olympic Park asked for $125,000 for its expansion project, and was recommended for $20,000.   Tomai said they were concerned about the impact of UOP’s request on smaller applicants.       

“The UOP, to their merit, has a kind of very robust sources of funding, and a very powerful fundraising tool as well.   So that the feeling was that sucking up a disproportionate amount of the resources, for UOP, would unfairly disadvantage the districts that have basically no other options other than  annual budgets  for their capital improvements—some of the small rec districts like Oakley or Henefer, whatever.”

Peter Tomai, chairman for the RAP Tax Recreation Citizens Advisory Committee.

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