ST. GEORGE – The Washington County Commission clarified guidelines for the county’s Recreation, Parks and Arts advisory board and called for culture and arts funding requests at a special commission meeting Thursday.
The RAP tax was passed by voters in the 2014 General Election and is expected to generate $2 million per year for the county and municipalities. The money is earmarked for recreational and cultural facilities and organizations.
The RAP tax is a sales tax of one-tenth of one percent – the equivalent of one cent for every $10 – collected on nonfood items. The tax can be levied for 10 years but must then be reauthorized by voters.
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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.
The county’s fifteen percent has been designated by the commission for support of cultural and art activities.
“In the public there’s always been a little confusion about this RAP board, because they feel that that’s the board that is divvying out all the RAP (tax funds) when in reality it’s only this 15 percent that’s been set aside for culture and arts,” Commissioner Victor Iverson said.
Commissioners amended RAP guidelines to clarify that the funds overseen by the county’s RAP tax advisory board are intended for private nonprofit organizations.
“The RAP tax advisory board was getting applications from a museum that St. George owns, or a dance company owned by Dixie State University,” Deputy Washington County Attorney Eric Clarke said, “and they weren’t sure if those entities could apply or not.”
“Obviously, St. George City, who gets the majority of the RAP tax funds, can allocate any portion of their million-plus dollars to any of the entities that they have,” Clarke said.
“But this 15 percent, with this clarification, will only go to private companies that are out there, in a nonprofit way, bringing arts into the community.
In February, $125,000 in RAP funds were awarded to 26 different entities of the 42 various art, theater and music organizations that applied for funding.
Tuacahn Center for the Arts received half of the available RAP tax funds — $125,000 — a commitment the Commission made during an October 2015 meeting.
Other groups receiving major funding include the Southwest Symphony Orchestra, which received $29,600, and the Kayenta Arts Foundation, which received $10,000. Smaller amounts ranging from $500 to $8,000 were granted to other groups.
In April, the county distributed about $70,000 in recreation funds to the Children’s Justice Center, the Silver Reef Foundation and several parks in several smaller communities within the county.
RAP funding deadline, schedule
Applications for RAP tax funds are due Sept. 23 and the county has issued these guidelines.
The schedule projects a single annual application cycle for the second year of RAP funding requests.
Another opportunity may be extended to apply for smaller project grants to fund opportunities that were not identified in time to submit as part of the annual cycle.
- Deadline for submission of funding requests: Sept. 23.
- Recommendations from RAP Advisory Board to County Commission: Dec. 20.
- County Commission authorization to fund approved projects: Tuesday, Jan. 17, 2017.
- Disbursement of funds for approved projects: Projected to be near the end of February of 2017, subject to the availability of funds.
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