Members of the Cache County Council approved disbursement of RAPZ/Restaurant tax revenues to the tune of $2.8 million at their regular meeting on Tuesday evening.
CACHE COUNTY – Many local groups and events will be disappointed with their disbursements from the Cache County RAPZ/Restaurant tax revenues this year.
During their regular meeting Tuesday, the members of the Cache County Council approved a list of allocations totaling $2.8 million to various worthy causes.
The problem was that the RAPZ/Restaurant Tax Committee had received 69 requests totaling $5.6 million, according to County Executive David N. Zook.
As chairman of that committee, Zook praised Council Chair Barbara Y. Tidwell and Council Member David L. Erickson for their efforts on the committee.
Cache County has collected a 1 percent sales tax on prepared food since 1992 to fund support for tourism, recreation and the cultural arts. The RAPZ (Recreation, Arts, Parks and Zoos) tax — which is a tenth of 1 percent sales tax — was added in 2002 to support capital projects and the operating expenses of local recreational venues.
Revenue from those taxes was $3.2 million this year, Zook explained. With an eye to retaining a reserve of about $400,000 for emergencies, the committee members had to trim disbursements to some events and groups this year.
For example, the Utah Festival Opera & Musical Theatre had submitted three funding requests totaling $670,000. The council members approved $280,000.
Logan Parks and Recreation Department requested nearly $500,000 for three projects, but those requests were trimmed to $400,000.
Zootah at Willow Park’s request for $520,000 was trimmed to only $160,000.
Requests from the Cache County Visitor Bureau ($22,750), the Cache Youth Orchestra ($21,475), Mendon City ($80,000), Newton Town ($20,660), Richmond City ($82,616) and Wellsville City ($62,944) were denied.
The City of North Logan had submitted a request for $300,000 to upgrade a pavilion at Elkridge Park, but received only $50,000.
Council member Gina H. Worthen made a motion to add another $100,000 to that allocation.
Worthen explained that the city had requested funds to replace a pavilion on the north side of that park that is used for the annual Pumpkin Walk.
“It’s really a safety issue,” she said. “The pavilion is old. It has been there since the 1980s and really needs to be replaced.”
Worthen, a North Logan resident, admitted that she is part of the group that stages the Pumpkin Walk. But figures she received from the North Logan City administrator indicated that the majority of Elkridge Park users were not North Logan residents.
“They really do provide a service to the county,” she added.
“As far as the Pumpkin Walk goes, I think that really is a perfect use for RAPZ/Restaurant tax funds,” Worthen said. “The city uses a budget of about $6,000 to $7,000 to put that event on, with hundreds of volunteers and it attracts over 25,000 people.
“No offense to the Utah Festival Opera, but there are more people who attend the Pumpkin Walk, I think, than the Utah Festival Opera.”
Council member Karl B. Ward seconded that motion, but other council members disagreed.
Erickson recalled that North Logan was part of what he called “the syndicate” of communities who had promised not to request any RAPZ/Restaurant tax funds for a period of a decade in exchange for a significant allocation of funds about eight years ago.
Zook confirmed the terms of that agreement.
“They’ve still got two years to go on that deal,” according to Erickson.
In view of that agreement, Ward withdrew his motion and Worthen’s motion died for want of a second.