Taxing for the arts
Non-profit art organizations in Summit County are set to receive over $714,000 from the county’s Recreation, Art and Parks Tax to help them continue to give back and provide programming for the community.
On Wednesday, RAP Tax board president Tom Fey told the Summit County Council the board had struggled with how to allocate the funds. Sixteen organizations applied for grants that are funded by a portion of Summit County’s sales tax.
"We read through all of the grant requests from each organization and looked at what kind of individuals were being supported by the organization to make sure the money is spread across all entities," Fey said. "We examined how many people were served by each organization and the effectiveness of the organization."
The grants cannot account for more than 50 percent of a performance cost or 35 percent of the overall operating budget.
Every even year the grant money goes to art organizations and every odd year it goes to supports parks and recreation facilities and programs. Most organizations are slated to receive a comparable amount of grant money in 2012 as in 2010, the two big changes were KPCW and The Park City Performing Arts Foundation.
Board members requested the County Council grant KPCW $54,182, $20,000 more than the previous year. Fey said that in 2010, KPCW’s grant amount decreased due to management changes at the station and the amount that was requested this year would bring the radio’s grant funding back to previous levels.
The Park City Performing Arts Foundation received about $20,000 less than last time because they only requested grant money to fund their student outreach program.
Other organizations that received grant money from the RAP Tax were the Park City/Summit County Arts Council, Arts Kids, Egyptian Theater Company, Kimball Art Center, and Mountain Town Music which received the largest grant of $87,500.
The County Council will have the final say in which organizations receive how much money, and council member Sally Elliott immediately said she had a problem with the Sundance Institute receiving $74,000, $3,000 less than previous years.
"They told me that they were unhappy with the decrease," Elliott said. "And while it is only a small decrease, it obviously makes a difference otherwise they would not have brought it up. They contribute significantly to our economy and increase the amount of money we have for our RAP Tax in the future. It is a matter of principle that we continue to support them as part of the obligation Summit County incurred when we brought them to Park City from Salt Lake."
RAP Tax Board Member Debbie Reid said that if more money is given to the Sundance Institute, then they will be opening the door for every organization to express displeasure with its grant amount and request more money.
"We sat as a committee and listened to each group present the reasoning behind their grant requests," Reid said. "We would have to pull money from other organizations that are just as deserving in order to increase the amount given to Sundance."
The County Council will schedule a public hearing to approve grant requests for the 2012 RAP Tax applicants at a later date.
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