ST. GEORGE – Washington County is considering a pledge of $125,000 annually to Tuacahn Center for the Arts for 10 years out of the county’s share of RAP tax revenues, with conditions.
County RAP tax advisory board chairman Gary Sanders presented the board’s recommendation to the County Commission at its regular meeting Tuesday.
The county’s Recreation, Arts and Parks tax, or RAP tax, passed in the 2014 general election. It is expected to generate $2 million per year to help fund recreational and cultural facilities and organizations within the county.
RAP tax funds are divided between the county and its municipalities, according to a formula: Fifteen percent goes to the county to be distributed. Of the remaining 85 percent, two-thirds will be divided among the county and municipalities based on population and one-third based on “point of sale” where the sales tax was actually collected.
Read more: County Commission refines RAP tax agreement
The RAP tax revenue the county will receive is estimated at $400,000 per year, Commissioner Victor Iverson said, and the county wants to commit $125,000 of that to the Tuacahn Center for the Arts.
Tuacahn attracts thousands of visitors each year and brings an estimated $75 million in economic benefit to Washington County, Ivins Mayor Chris Hart said in a previous interview; but, Tuacahn is in serious need of financing for critical maintenance and other capital improvements.
The need for infrastructure repairs is urgent because work must be done between November and April 2016, and work cannot begin until funds are committed to finish the projects.
The county RAP advisory board fast-tracked Tuacahn’s application, based on the art center’s need. The board recommended the funding for a period of 10 years because the RAP tax will expire at that point and need to be renewed by voters.
“If it’s renewed in 10 years … that can be something that can be looked at with the next advisory board,” Sanders said.
Tuacahn is seeking bonds with a 20-year life span, and several area cities have already committed a portion of their expected RAP tax revenue.
The RAP tax advisory board recommended the funding commitment carry these conditions:
- The commission may nominate a director to serve as a member on the Tuacahn board of directors to represent the interests of the county taxpayers, with the board seat to be in perpetuity
- Tuacahn will submit a written plan for addressing ways to enhance and encourage use of Tuacahn’s performance and rehearsal facilities by other Washington County arts organizations; the plan should also specify ways to encourage ongoing collaborative projects with other local arts organizations, and the plan should be submitted to the county RAP tax board by Nov. 30
- Tuacahn will submit a projected schedule for completion of each element of the $9.5 million capital improvement project to the County Commission by Nov. 30; and Tuacahn shall submit quarterly reports detailing the project’s progress until the improvements are finished
The Commission plans to take official action on the board’s recommendations at the next regular meeting.
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