Park City Council Weighs Funding For Summit County Mental Health Efforts

Jun 5, 2019

Credit Park City Municipal

The Park City Council will receive an update on Summit County’s mental health services at Thursday’s council meeting, before deciding how to continue the City’s financial support of those efforts. The conversation also raises questions about the City’s funding philosophy when it comes to County services. 

At their last meeting, the City Council asked to continue approval of a mental health memorandum of understanding with Summit County to a later date. Approving the MOU would continue the City’s support of Summit County’s mental health efforts by contributing $60,000 to the full-time, benefitted mental health director position, formerly a contracted position.

Park City Manager Diane Foster says the City initially aided in funding the position because they were concerned the County hadn’t committed to the role’s long-term funding, and the position supported Park City’s mental wellness goals and priorities. Foster says the conversation around the position has changed.

“The County is now very much committed to that, and so the City's saying, 'hey, should we contribute to that or should we contribute to another part of the program?'" Foster said. "So I don't think there's any interest in pulling funding. It's more of, what's the right thing and the right place to put it.”

The Council’s discussion around financially supporting a full-time County employee mirrors some of the councilmembers’ concerns about the City’s contribution to the Central Wasatch Commission. Park City puts $100,000 into the organization, while Summit County contributes $50,000. Councilmember Tim Henney told KPCW that really amounts to $125,000 from Park City taxpayers, because half of the County’s tax base comes from Park City, and other communities in Summit County aren’t being asked to contribute additional funds. Foster says Park City generates most of the taxes in Summit County because of its visitor population.

“It's a conversation the Council wants to have—it's not by any means an attack on the County," Foster said."We have a great relationship with Summit County and appreciate it, but these questions always come up, even with things like the RAP tax, where a certain percentage is generated in the City. It's a question of should funds come back to the City.”

Foster says the Council will have a larger discussion around Park City’s financial contributions to the County, as well as other topics related to finances and taxes, at a mid-summer retreat on July 31.