Service district panel reviews requests for local project funding
The Carbon County Recreation and Transportation Special Service District was created to allocate mineral lease funds to projects relating to recreation and transportation.
The county's recreation and transportation district gets the funds from mineral lease royalties paid by coal mining and gas companies, according to Linda Ballard.
Ballard currently serves as the administrator of the special service district.
In order for coal mining and gas companies to extract minerals on federal lands, securing a lease is required.
Revenues paid to the United States government by the mining/gas companies are called mineral lease funds.
After the royalties are collected from the companies, the mineral lease funds are divided between the federal government and the state of Utah.
Utah allocates a portion of the funds generated on federal lands in Carbon County to the recreation and transportation district.
The special service district, in turn, funds local projects like parks, fairground improvements and roads.
"The majority of the money goes to the county," Ballard said. "It cannot be given directly to them or they would lose their PILT (payment in lieu of taxes) money. They use the funds for road maintenance."
Ballard and the other members of the board conduct monthly public meetings at the county planning and zoning building and discuss possible uses for the funds.
According to Carbon Commissioner Steve Burge, numerous local groups and event organizers appeal to the special service district board for funds.
The special service district board assumes the responsibility of safeguarding the mineral lease revenues and see that the money is properly disbursed under Utah law.
Burge was one person appealing to the board for funds at Monday's meeting. He said he was looking to find a solution to a problem that often occurs.
Routinely, the Carbon County Commission is asked for money to cover small recreational events and, because of particular statutes, the commission is unable to give money to projects the commission thinks are deserving.
"Events bring people and we need the funds to support events," he noted.
The commissioner said developing this fund for small, recreational projects would promote good will in the community and reduce the tension that is caused when "good recreational projects" are turned down.
The board laid out possible parameters for the fund including a $3,000 or $5,000 maximum limit per event and a yearly allocation limit of $25,000 to $50,000.
This proposal idea is in an early stage and the board asked that the county commissioners submit a formal request for the issue to be considered at a later date.
In addition to the request from the commission, the board also had the Carbon Country Club golf course on the Aug. 4 agenda.
The recreation and transportation district is a 50 percent owner of the golf course and was responsible for adding nine holes to the facility.
An improvement to the parking lot was discussed, as well as a dryness problem that is occurring on a few of the greens due to a burst pipe.
Golf pro Tom King said the broken pipe damaged a lot of electrical components, which had to be replaced.
"The insurance company will cover the damage in full and now the new system is better than the original was," King explained to the county board.