KPCW could receive $45K in RAP Tax
The same week KPCW was slated to receive more than $45,000 from taxpayers, a newspaper revealed the controversial six-figure salaries the local non-profit radio station pays Park City residents Blair and Susan Feulner.
According to a Salt Lake Tribune story, the couple recently cleared $265,000 in combined salary from the radio station in one year. The Feulners have also received $895,000 for the sale of a radio license in North Summit, the Tribune reported.
Some callers praised KPCW general manager Blair Feulner this week. They said he is worth the money as he discussed his salary on the air with listeners. But some non-profit organizers in Summit County are wondering why such a seemingly well-funded organization needs additional government assistance. Last year, Summit County provided KPCW a $36,750 Recreation, Arts and Parks (RAP) Tax grant. The Summit County Commission is poised to give the station another $45,350 in RAP Tax this year. The RAP Tax is generated by sales tax in Summit County and each year a committee of citizens doles out hundreds of thousands of dollars to non-profit organizations that provide cultural opportunities in the area. Park City Mayor Dana Williams wouldn’t comment Friday about whether RAP Tax should fund KPCW.
Park City Municipal already provides space for KPCW’s offices and studios in the Marsac Building in exchange for some in-kind access to the airwaves. But Williams expects Park City councilors to scrutinize the station’s plans to request a long-term arrangement for space in City Hall. "It’s a trade based on us having access. There are certain advantages to having the radio station in City Hall," Williams said.
He added, "council is going to want to take a real good look at the contract."
The RAP Tax Cultural Advisory Committee recommends to the County Commission how 55 percent of each year’s RAP Tax proceeds should be spent. The committee chair, Tom Fey, said members of the board were disappointed to learn the non-profit radio station compensates the Feulners so handsomely. "We made this recommendation before [KPCW] got that publicity," Fey told the County Commission Wednesday. "Everybody on the committee thinks that we should stick to our recommendation."
Feulner cannot use the money for salaries, Fey stressed, adding that only programming and the station’s Web site can benefit from the grant. The committee is also monitoring KPCW because Feulner has not finished improvements to his Web site that last year’s RAP Tax grant was supposed to fund, Fey added.
Feulner did not return telephone calls seeking comment for this article before press time.
As a public radio station, KPCW wasn’t eligible to receive RAP Tax funding until Feulner convinced state Rep. David Ure, R-Kamas, to modify the state law a few years ago to include public radio. Feulner asked the committee for $70,000 last year and $86,450 in 2005. The RAP Tax Cultural Advisory Committee had about $640,000 to fund nonprofits with this year and has distributed almost $2 million since it began in 2002, Fey said. RAP Tax committee members deliberate each fall and recommend to the County Commission which organizations should receive funding. Commissioners will make the final decision and other recipients could include: Alf Engen Ski Museum — $17,900 Arts-Kids — $31,000 Echo Community and Historical Organization — $4,500 Kimball Art Center — $47,225 Mountain Town Stages — $49,900 Norwegian Outdoor Exploration Center — $25,000 Park City Film Series — $17,150 Park City Historical Society and Museum — $80,000 Park City Jazz Foundation — $38,000 The Egyptian Theatre — $62,200 Park City Performing Arts Foundation — $70,000 Park City Singers — $3,000 Park City/Summit County Arts Council — $33,800 Park City Literary Festival — $4,125 Summit County Historical Society — $7,000 Sundance Institute — $59,000 Swaner Memorial Park Foundation — $10,650 The Park City Chamber Music Society — $10,400 Utah Symphony and Opera — $23,800 The committee denied a request for $37,550 for the Utah Music Festival.
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The Park City Police Department last week and early this week received several reports of parties, a common complaint to the agency during busy times of the ski season. The cases did not appear to be serious, but they seem to show an uptick in activity in the community.