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County won't seek recreation, arts, parks tax
by TOM BUSSELBERG
Jun 26, 2014 | 2124 views | 0 0 comments | 14 14 recommendations | email to a friend | print
Heritage Park playground - Louise R. Shaw | Davis Clipper
Heritage Park playground - Louise R. Shaw | Davis Clipper
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BOUNTIFUL — The Davis County Commission is not going to seek a countywide RAP tax.

RAP, which stands for recreation, arts and parks, totals one-tenth of one cent of every sale in cities that impose it. Some counties, such as Salt Lake County and Cache County, impose it countywide and then decide which entities receive funding.

In Davis County, several cities have been using it as a funding source. Bountiful and Centerville led the way, using it to help with funding the CenterPoint/Legacy Performing Arts Center.

West Bountiful uses it to fund a variety of capital projects. Clearfield is considering asking voters to approve it.

“The RAP tax is still going toward the CenterPoint Theater,” said Bountiful City Manager Gary Hill. It’ll continue providing funding for that facility until current authorization ends in the spring of 2016, he said.

About $375,000 a year is being collected in Bountiful.

The city council is considering asking voters to approve new authorization, which would mean the funding would continue uninterrupted.

“The difference this time is that the funding would be used 100 percent within Bountiful,” Hill said.  “We’d like to use a percentage, probably the majority, for parks.”

Although that decision has yet to be officially made by the city council, funds would likely go toward designing and making necessary improvements to the new Mill Street Park near Bountiful High School.

Other funds would be set aside for other parks and recreation-related projects such as trails, as well as to support the arts, Hill said. 

The council is set to discuss the issue during its July 8 meeting which will start at 7 p.m. at city hall, 790 S. 100 East.

Centerville is considering using funds, if their tax is re-approved, for park improvements, said Assistant City Manager Blaine Lutz. “The council hasn’t completely decided, but as a staff we’re looking at a possibility. We need to have something concrete.”

Five undeveloped acres next to the community park are among ideas being considered. The museum is also among entities that could receive help.

“A lot of playgrounds are getting old, I would suspect that would be a focus we also may be considering, “Lutz said. Added to that is some funding for the Whittaker Museum.

“We may now look at maybe some additional improvements” at CenterPoint as well, he added.

The city is generating nearly $350,000 a year in RAP tax funds.

Woods Crsoss receives about $200,000 through its RAP tax, said City Administrator Gary Uresk. Most recently, funds have been used to build the new Mountain View Park on the city’s west side.

In addition, Woods Cross donates to Summerfest. Upgrades to park playground equipment are also planned, he said.

The city implemented its tax after Bountiful and Centerville and is not to the point of discussions on a future election, Uresk said.

“A couple of years ago it was on the ballot, to impose a RAP-type tax. It didn’t pass,” Millburn said. Noting the decision by several cities to pursue a RAP tax, he said state code requires that a county be consulted as to whether it wants to pursue a countywide tax.

“As we’ve looked at it, there hasn’t been any kind of a request or interest as of late for a countywide local sales tax for these types of things,” he said.

A countywide tax would also mean setting up some sort of administration to determine what projects in which cities get funded. It could create feelings among residents of areas that don’t get funds they may believe they’re entitled to, Millburn said.

The county passed a resolution June 17 after Clearfield submitted a written notice to the county indicating it will ask residents in November about imposing a RAP tax.

“We came up with what we think is a unique, PARAT, Parks, Arts, Recreation, Aquatics and Trails,” Allen said. “It was meant to be broad to use those revenues for all those potentials.” 

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