Wasatch County fared well in 2020 despite the closures and restrictions of the COVID-19 pandemic. A recreation, arts, and parks (RAP) tax may be on the ballot in November.
As the counties and municipalities of the Wasatch Back see positive revenue numbers rolling in from the unprecedented 2020 year of the pandemic, many officials are pleasantly surprised by what they see. Wasatch County Manager Mike Davis said they projected up to 20% drops in sales tax revenues.
"But what has happened is actually our sales tax revenues have held or actually are little higher,” he said. “The one area we have taken a hit on is the transient room tax, and that would be applicable, of course, to the number of stays, hotel room stays, and so forth, and so we're down now in the 12% range for the transient room tax. Everything else is doing well."
Davis said they are moving ahead with county events summer planning. The state mask mandate is coming to an end next month, and the vaccination programs are beefing up.
"We do recognize that if there were a resurgence, or if some statutes changed according to the state, the way the state handles the vaccinations and the COVID, the whole COVID thing, we may have to make some changes,” he said. “But right now, we're trying to make some plans to do a fair. We're trying to make some plans to do the rodeo and the derby and so forth. And certainly, those final decisions will be made in the next month or two but we're planning."
County officials will host a regional meeting on March 24. They'll discuss putting a RAP tax on the county ballot this November. Summit County currently collects its own RAP tax.
It's projected that a RAP tax would generate seven to $800,000. Heber and Midway asked the county to consider the tax in a regional discussion. If the county doesn't institute a RAP tax, the cities can do it.
"We want to meet with Midway and Heber City to find out where their priorities are for the tax. There is only so much money that this can generate, and we want to make sure that if we do implement it county-wide that all the entities can get what they need. Then they have really looked at it yet, but maybe the County doesn't do a county-wide wrap tax, and it allows the cities to just do their own individual because the purposes for what they want to use the tax are so different."