Scofield committee challenges county's tax funding decision
When Carbon commissioners approved the county's quarterly restaurant tax allocations in mid-May, the officials denied a funding request from the planning committee for Scofield's Pleasant Valley Days.
The Pleasant Valley Days panel rebutted the denial of the funding request during the Carbon County Commission meeting on June 1.
Scott Hollman, president of the Pleasant Valley Days committee, explained to commissioners that he and other members were shocked to read a report in the Sun Advocate indicating that the request for restaurant tax funding had been denied on the grounds that the applicant was neither a government organization nor backed by one.
Carbon lawmakers denied the request at a commission meeting on May 18. Minutes from that meeting weren't approved until Wednesday, so the only information available to the planning committee concerning the denial was through the local newspaper.
Hollman explained that while the committee had been a separate body previously, he and committee members had gone before the mayor and town council two years ago and the town decided to back the committee and incorporate it back into the town.
However, commissioners explained that in order to receive restaurant tax dollars in future funding cycles, the committee would need to supply county government with official minutes from the town that support the claim.
Commissioner Mike Milovich added that the committee still uses a separate bank account and that its financial records are not audited as part of the financial audit performed annually on the town's records. That presents a problem when the committee requests funding which is derived from tax dollars.
In order for the county to give tax dollars to an organization, the expenditure of the revenues should be audited as part of a governmental financial audit, explained Milovich.
The commission also explained that there was some question as to the ambiguous nature of the application for restaurant tax funding.
While the application referenced using revenue tax revenues to make improvements to the town's park, the request was actually for funding for fireworks.
At the restaurant tax board meeting in early April, Hollman had explained that the money would go toward fireworks, and that whatever amount was offset by restaurant tax funding would go toward improvements in the park.
"We just want to get the ball rolling in the right direction," Hollman told commissioners on Wednesday.
The Pleasant Valley Days president expressed his concern that attempts to get information about the appropriate direction the planning committee should take with the application to the restaurant tax board were fruitless.
The Pleasant Valley Days committee was unsure as to the best way to approach the board for funding and had filed the application in an ambiguous state so that the planning committee could go either direction with the request once the tax board had reviewed it, pointed out Hollman.
Earlier in the June 1 commission meeting in connection with an unrelated business matter, the county received a check from Questar for $2,500.
The payment from the company is reportedly for fees associated with one or more road opening permits.
Commissioner William Krompel suggested that the $2,500 from Questar could be used as an offset if the Carbon government decided to fund the Pleasant Valley Days committee's request.
The recommended $2,500 in funding for the Scofield committee would not come from restaurant tax dollars, but would still need to be audited with the town's financial records, according to the county officials.
The Carbon commissioners approved the funding of $2,500 to the planning committee of Pleasant Valley Days to be administered by the town of Scofield, pending receipt by the county of minutes from the town council supporting Hollman's claims that the committee is backed by the town.