County Commission looks at RAP tax grants, outdoor recreation

The Washington County Commission building in St. George | Photo by Julie Applegate, St. George News

ST. GEORGE — The Washington County Commission received recommendations for awarding Recreation, Arts and Parks tax revenue funds and created an advisory board to promote outdoor recreation and events at a regular meeting Tuesday.

The County has received 42 applications for RAP tax funding in 2016, RAP Tax Advisory Board Chair Summer Belnap Robertson told the commission, and the board has been busy evaluating the proposals. The applications are from various art, theater and music organizations. The available funds total $125,000; another $125,000 has already been committed to Tuacahn Center for the Arts.

The RAP tax money did not start coming in until April 2015; next year the commission expects to have more funds to distribute, County Administrator Dean Cox said.

The Board looked at several factors while evaluating the proposals, including artistic and cultural merit, how a proposed project would contribute to the county’s growth and economic development and whether a project offered anything new.

The RAP tax passed in the 2014 General Election and is expected to generate $2 million per year for the entire county which can be used to help fund recreational and cultural facilities and organizations.

RAP tax funds are divided between the county and municipalities; 15 percent is distributed by the county. Of the remaining 85 percent, two-thirds is divided among the county and municipalities based on population and one-third goes to the community where the sale occurred and where the sales tax was actually collected.

A decision on RAP tax funding is expected by early February, Robertson said, and applicants will be notified in writing shortly thereafter.

During the meeting, the commission also created the St. George Area Sports Commission as an advisory board to the newly-formed Washington County Sports and Recreation Department, which is headed by Kevin Lewis.

Late last year, the county split the Convention and Tourism Department into two separate departments: the Convention and Tourism Department and the Sports and Outdoor Recreation Department.

The sports commission will be made up of business and recreation industry leaders and will advise county officials on how to promote, develop and brand sports-related tourism and outdoor recreation, including hosting special events.

The name “St. George Area Sports Commission” is being used because there are 35 other Washington counties in the U.S., Commissioner Victor Iverson said.

Other business

  • The commissioners voted to vacate a small portion of Dry Creek Road off of Kolob Terrace Road near North Creek. Part of the county road, which runs through property owned by Jacob Stevens, is within the boundaries of Zion National Park, and that portion has been closed. County officials are turning that section of road over to the park and realigning the county road.
  • Debora Christopher and Bryan Simonson were appointed to the Planning Commission; Christopher has already been serving on the commission and Simonson is replacing Dave Everett.

Ed. note: Corrected total amount of RAP tax funds.

Email: japplegate@stgnews.com

Twitter: @STGnews

Copyright St. George News, SaintGeorgeUtah.com LLC, 2016, all rights reserved.

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