Groups concerned about RAP Tax funds
October 30, 2012
Several non-profit organizations are expressing concern about a change in the Recreation, Arts and Park (RAP) Tax grant schedule. The grant distributes one-tenth of 1 percent of Summit County sales tax to qualifying cultural programs.
But a plan to streamline the granting process may prevent some organizations from receiving the funds when they need them most.
"The lack of funds that we might have received from the RAP Tax grant in January 2013 will not only require a substantial cut in our operations for the first six months of 2013, but will put us in a deficit position," Kathy Hunter, Park City Summit County Arts Council Executive Director, said in a letter to Assistant Summit County Manager Anita Lewis. "We are happy to do our absolute best to postpone as many expenses as possible to June 2013 or later, however, with the new grant schedule and the lack of funding for the first six months of 2013, we will run into the same difficulties each January."
Matt Mullin, Chairman of the Kimball Art Center (KAC) Board, said in his own letter to Lewis that the change will cause hardship for the KAC as well. "The KAC and other nonprofits rely heavily on the funding at a certain time and applying 2012 approved grants to the 2012 fiscal year is important, operationally."
Because three different grants: the restaurant grant, the special events grant and the RAP grant all require applications at different times of the year, creating confusion among non-profit organizations as to timelines and which application to fill out, the county decided to forgo the three different applications in favor of just one with tabs and have them all due at the same time.
"So it lessens the confusion of, when is this opportunity available and when is that opportunity available," Lewis said. "There’s also been confusion about people wanting to apply for different taxes. At times we’ve had people apply and they’ve used the wrong application for an opportunity. They’ll fill out a restaurant application and we are advertising for RAP Tax. And so it was thought, maybe we can do it a better way."
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Instead of the RAP applications being available in September and organizations receiving the money in January, applications will now not be available until February and the money won’t be released until June, according to the tentative timeline.
Lewis acknowledged that some of the organizations have expressed a financial hardship because they won’t be given the money until later in 2013, but said she felt they were in the minority.
"Change is change," Lewis said. "It doesn’t matter what kind of change it is. And there may some bumps that we’ll need to work through, but my hope is we’ll all work together and be able to come up with resolutions once we find problems or hiccups along the way."
The Summit County Council will discuss the RAP grant changes during a work session on Wednesday, Oct. 31.
"I think the discussion with the council will be, is there a way to possibly bridge some money to some of these entities that have expressed a hardship," Lewis said. "We don’t want to hurt anybody and we don’t want to put anybody out of business, because all of these groups are providing great services to the community."