Restaurant tax revenues awarded to area projects
The Carbon restaurant tax board recently met to review requests and submit recommendations on awarding funding to projects to the county commissioner
The recommendations were evaluated by the county commissioners at the regular meeting on July 17. The commission reviewed eight applications and a grand total of $127,800 in restaurant tax monies was awarded.
The first application was for a low wattage AM radio transmission for the tourism bureau.
"This is a one time cost," said Kathy Smith, tourism director. "It can be used for promotional materials as well as for emergency road conditions, avalanche warnings etc."
The transmitter will be used on the scenic energy loop and also serve entities crossing Carbon County lines.
"I am concerned that Emery and Sanpete counties are not contributing anything to this," pointed out Commissioner Mike Milovich. "This will help them, too."
Smith has met with the other counties involved and it looked like the entities would be contributing to the system.
"They understand the value of this to them," said Smith.
A second concern voiced by commissioners was whether the signal would be strong enough to go the proposed five miles plus and if the messages on the system would be changed in a timely matter.
Smith assured the lawmakers that the new system would have the necessary range. She indicated that the details of changing the message have been worked out with the forest service.
The county commission also awarded Carbon Emery Motorcycle Association $50,000 for work that the group will be doing on the motocross track.
"I don't have a problem with us funding this, but I am not sure there is enough money here for them to do the things they project they can," said Milovich.
But Commissioner Tom Matthews pointed out that a lot of the actual work on the project will be completed by volunteers, which will cut the costs substantially.
Commissioner Bill Krompel suggested that the county go ahead and fund the project, then allow the group to come back for more money later if they feel they need it.
Another project involved the College of Eastern Utah and Price city. The request concerned work the college and municipality want to do on the CEU run, city owned baseball field in north Price.
"They are asking for this money to improve the field to the standards needed for them to hold one of the state baseball tournaments there," stated Krompel.
The project involves installing security fencing along the north end of the complex to keep people from crossing into the area from the hills, as well as a way to control traffic into the area.
The money would also be used to move a portable classroom from the high school to the ballfield so the facility can be used for changing areas for the teams and officials.
The commissioners had no problem with putting in the fencing but Milovich was concerned about using the portable classroom instead of constructing a permanent building.
"I just don't think this is the way to go," he stated. "How about looking at the cost of putting up a block building instead? We have spent a lot of money to get that field looking good, and I wonder if that type of building would do the area justice. We are trying to build a first class facility and I am not sure this is the way to do it."
Jana Abrams, the restaurant board chair, told the commissioners that if they wanted to work with the applicants on possibly awarding the money for a permanent structure, she saw no problem with that, but that she felt the money for the fencing should be awarded anyway.
The commissioners awarded part of the $18,000 requested for the fencing and would allow money for a building after some study was done on the issue.
Another project that came under close scrutiny was a project to produce a promotional CD for the area by Price City. The city asked for $10,199, and the restaurant board was allowing $6000 up front and the rest when it was past the development stage. However, more than one commissioner was adamant about the fact the CD should be more all inclusive for the area, rather than just a promotion for Price City venues.
"First of all I think this needs to be more broad based," said Milovich. "Secondly, if you are going to do this right I think you will probably need more money than this."
Nick Tatton, Price City manager, said he felt the way the money was awarded was a "no" vote anyway.
"We awarded the $6000 to get you started and then will grant the other $4000 when we are sure the CD isn't just about Price City," said Abrams.
Tatton said that they had the plan to make it a county wide promotional tool and not just for Price from the beginning.
"We need all of that money to implement it however," he told the commission.
Tatton told the group that the CD is being produced as a tool to present the areas strong points to various groups around the state.
But commissioners were still not convinced and Milovich brought up the fact that possibly the college might want to partner in the project as well. He said that at one point he had heard Ryan Thomas (CEU president) say that he college had been working on a similar project. He felt there might be a duplication of efforts going on.
"It's hard for us to comment or make a decision on something when we aren't sure what is going to be in it," said Krompel.
The commission decided to table the award until Price City could check with the college on their situation.
The commission also reviewed plans by Wellington to build an ATV trail that ultimately would run through much of the county. The restaurant board had awarded $50,000 of the $200,000 they had requested for the project. The planners of the trail envision a venue similar to the Piute Trail in Piute County. That trail has been a huge success and has attracted thousands of tourists to the area.
"I have spoken with Matt Rauhala about this project," said Krompel referring to the individual spearheading the drive to build the trail. "I have asked him to work on finding matching funds through grants to work on this project."
"I just worry about some of the right of way problems that they could have in building this," said Milovich. "I think this may be premature. They need to settle this and get everyone on board before it moves along. I certainly don't mind funding it if that is don, but they need a master plan and need to check on environmental assessments and so on."
The projects money was tabled until some of these issues could be explored.
The commission approved other monies for the following projects.
A BMX track proposed by Price City. The city asked for $47,800 and that is what was awarded. According to Tatton the city is looking at a number of parcels of land that they already own to put the park on. It was pointed out that these facilities tend to bring in a great deal of tourism and usually hold three to four big events a year. The track, when completed, is projected to be open for public use at all times, like the skate park.
An award of $1000 was given to East Carbon City to do work on Columbia Park.
The commission agreed with a $7000 award to the International Days Celebration for promotional purposes.
"We have been doing some wide spread advertising and the event continues to grow every year," said Betty Wheeler, Price City councilwoman.
Action on the tabled items will be taken at later commission meetings when the parameters of what the commissioners set down are met.