County grants requests for restaurant tax funds
|Helper Councilman Bob Farrell stands in the filter room at the city's swimming pool. Maintenance and safety problems influenced the town's council to vote to close the pool for the summer. A request from a group seeking funds to revamp or build a new pool was recently turned down by the county's restaurant tax advisory committee and Carbon commissioners supported the advisory panel's decision.|
The July 6 meeting of the county's restaurant tax advisory board generated six requests for project funding.
Four requests received recommendations for restaurant tax money and several awards were based on various conditions.
On July 21, the Carbon County Commission reviewed the advisory panel's recommendation.
The six requests for restaurant tax funding reviewed by the county commissioners last Wednesday totaled $303,825.
The final awards totaled $50,325, with $33,325 having stipulations placed upon the funding.
The largest request came from Helper's community development committee for $215,000 to aid the city's swimming pool construction project.
The request for funding for Helper's pool was denied based on the fact that the committee is not established as an eligible entity sponsor.
The board also pointed out that the county's restaurant fund cannot become a do-all for every project.
The advisory panel advised the group come back with a request after the committee has found other funding to go along with any money the tax board may support allocating for the Helper pool project.
The Helper swimming pool was shut down by the city because of maintenance and safety problems.
There was an outcry from residents in the community when the decision was made in spring 2004.
Since last spring, several groups and events have been set up to raise money for constructing a new pool in Helper and/or completing repairs at the old facility.
An unrelated request for restaurant tax monies came from Wellington for the construction of a pavilion, restrooms and improvements at the city park. The total request from Wellington was for $50,000.
The advisory panel recommended awarding $25,000 in restaurant tax revenues for the Wellington project, contingent upon city getting the remainder of the money from other sources like the Utah Permanent Community Impact Board.
A request denied by the advisory committee and the commission was $6,000 for the 2004 East Carbon-Sunnyside Community Daze. The request was made shortly before the event and the tax advisory board felt that it should have been submitted in a more timely manner.
The restaurant tax board recommended that East Carbon and Sunnyside look at brick and mortar projects that would aid the two communities in the long run.
In addition, Price city made a request for $14,000 to help pay for advertising in connection with the Pat Summerall Champions of Industry 300 program.
Price was recently chosen as the best city in Utah with a population of less than 10,000 by the organization. Only 25 cities in the United States will receive the award in the population classification in 2004.
According to information from Pat Summerall Productions, the Champions of Industry award recognizes excellence in business practices. As a recipient, Price is eligible to participate in a national campaign to promote the city.
Price requested the restaurant tax money in an effort to join the national campaign. The award package includes a five-minute promotional video, which will reportedly publicize the strengths and appeal of the Price area.
Price officials decided to participate in the promotional part of the award after discussing the positives and negatives with Idaho and Colorado cities which had gone through the process.
According to Price officials, the feedback was overwhelmingly positive and the city felt that the outcome would justify the costs
The committee had recommended that of the $14,000 requested, the city be awarded $7,000.
But the decision by the county commission was not reached without several questions arising and a discussion centering around two things.
One was the fact that the funding request involved a Price city project. The commissioners wanted to be sure that, if the money was given from restaurant tax funds, the revenues would promote the entire county not just Price alone.
The second issue had to do with the viability and credibility of the promotion. The question has arisen if the award is not a like buying a position in a "who's who" publication, where people or companies pay to be listed.
"I did some research on this by looking at the videos that were produced and, for the most part I think it is a good thing," said Commissioner Steve Burge. "Overall, I viewed five videos from different locations. Three were very good, with the one from Mesquite, Nev., being the most powerful tool of the group to promote an area. Two, however, were not very good and just talked about the mayor and the city councils instead of highlighting the city. Videos like this need to promote the entire community."
After discussing the pros and cons, the commission followed the recommendation of the restaurant tax advisory committee and awarded Price city the money.
The Helper Western Mining and Railroad Museum also submitted a request in for $10,000 for exhibit enhancements and expansion. The money was granted with little discussion by the commission.
Finally, the Carbon County Travel Bureau asked for money to publish information in the 2005 Utah Accommodations and Vacation Guide.
The commission awarded the travel bureau's entire $8,325 request.
In addition, The county commission appointed two new members to sit on the restaurant tax advisory committee.
The commissioners selected Keith Mason and Ellis Pierce to replace Rick Krompel and Jana Abrams, who recently resigned from the board.