Summit County Council to offer non-profits bridge financing
The Summit County Council has agreed to offer bridge financing to organizations needing early RAP Tax funds.
The Council met on Wednesday Oct. 31 to discuss recent changes to the RAP Tax grant schedule, which will offer qualifying local non-profits grants in June instead of January, as was done in previous years, to streamline the application process.
"There was a meeting held in August with the non-profit cultural groups saying, here’s the change: probably next year you won’t receive funding until June 2013. If you feel this will create a hardship, please put it in writing," Summit County Assistant Manager Anita Lewis said.
While most organizations reported they would be able to weather six months without RAP Tax funding, a few wrote to Singleton expressing the problems created by the new schedule, Singleton said in a previous interview.
Sarah West, Sundance Institute Community Development Director, said in a letter that the timing of the change is problematic, as the Sundance Institute will either have to request retroactive support for festival programming, or skip a year of funding.
West added that many non-profits like themselves have already gone to print in May for summer programming, which is usually selected in the spring.
"So knowing RAP Tax funding is imperative prior to any programming decisions made," West said in the letter.
Pat Sanger, Arts-Kids Executive Director, said in a similar letter that the RAP Tax grant is their largest funding source, but said she learned from RAP Tax Committee Chair Tom Fey that Arts-Kids could not count on the RAP grant to support any programming this fiscal year.
"This fact means that we must find $20,000 to $30,000 in additional revenue not in our budget or our cash reserves," Sanger said. "For the present, we are focusing on decreasing any overhead we can."
To that end, Arts-Kids plans to sublet its office space to share the rent or move to a less expensive location, and not fill the position of the group’s program director, who will be resigning due to school commitments.
"The changes being made to the grant process is not beneficial to us at all," Sanger said. "The RAP Tax, Park City Municipal Corporation and the George S. And Dolores Dore Eccles Foundation have been our anchors for the Summit County program."
Fey suggested to the County four options to help the organizations needing the money prior to June 2013:
Do nothing and encourage organizations to manage their cash flow.
Speed up the process to try to get checks out in April or early May.
Allow organizations to apply for a six-month grant.
Give advance "bridge" funds to organizations that have consistently received it in previous years and are unable to financially afford to wait until June.
Fey suggested that if the County chooses the fourth option, which he recommended, the committee should give organizations that need it up to 30 percent of what they received last year.
Fey added that organizations should still be encouraged to manage their own finances and not assume they’ll get the same money as in previous years.
"People said that despite the fact that this is public money and it’s not guaranteed they get it every year, they feel they are going to be financially harmed by the changes," he said.
Fey recommended the committee notify the local non-profits as soon as possible and ask them to write a financial justification of why they need bridge money. He’ll then come back to the County Council with a list of organizations requesting the bridge money along with the funds suggested by the committee.
"We would really like to have you make that final decision," he told the Council.
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