CACHE COUNTY – At its regular meeting on May 28, the members of the Cache County Council shredded the funding recommendations of their own volunteer RAPZ Committee Board and amended the amounts of tax funds being provided to a dozen of 77 line-item requests.

In the case of 10 of those-line items, the council members voted to increase the funds being provided.

But the request for $250,000 from Cache County Development Services for a feasibility study of a proposed Cache Valley recreation center was reduced to only $75,000.

Another request for Development Services was zeroed out from a proposed allocation of $40,000.

Much of the nearly hour-long discussion of the allocation of funds from the Recreation, Arts, Parks and Zoos/Restaurant taxes focused on that seemingly controversial aforementioned feasibility study.

While each of the council members who are up for re-election in November took great pains to pledge that they were not opposed to the idea of a county recreation center in principle and the feasibility study in particular, the sheer size of the proposed $200,000 allocation for that purpose remained a major stumbling block for council members.

Council member Karl Ward, who is already out of the running for re-election, felt free to recommend that the allocation to Development Services be reduced to $40,000. Barbara Tidwell, who is running unopposed in November, suggested upping that figure to $50,000.

After much discussion centering on questions about the need for and scope of the proposed feasibility study, the council settled on $75,000 to fund the first step step of writing a request for proposals to be circulated by Development Services to recreational consultants. The council members then deliberately left the question of additional funds for a recreation center feasibility study open for an estimated five months.

Meanwhile, those RAPZ/Restaurant Tax savings were reallocated to worthy “shovel-ready” projects in local communities.

The local projects that will benefit from that spirit of largesse include the Cache Valley Cruise-In Association, which will receive an increased allocation of $5,000 to $40,000; the Cornish Town Park, up $5,000 to $80,000; the Jump the Moon Foundation, up $5,000 to $23,000; the Top of Utah Marathon, up $5,000 to $20,000; the Mendon Legacy Park, up $20,000 to $100,000; and the Millville City South Park pickleball lights, up $10,000 to $40,000.

Council member Nolan Gunnell, who is also running for re-election in November, took good care of his constituents in the south end of the valley, ensuring that requests for Wellsville basketball courts jumped by $20,000 to $100,000; Wellsville sidewalks and walking paths received $25,000; and Wellsville tennis courts received $10,000. The RAPZ/Restaurant Committee Board had recommended that those latter two Wellsville requests received no funding at all.

Finally, Tidwell made a successful pitch for Zootah at Willow Park to receive an additional $20,000, raising its slice of the RAPZ/Restaurant revenues to more than $290,000.

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.

Those combined revenues can also be used for either capital projects or maintenance expenses by publicly-owned facilities for tourism promotion, recreation, cultural arts, convention centers and airports.

The RAPZ tax was renewed by Cache County voters in 2012 and 2022.

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