[Editor’s note: Both Rani Derasary and Mike Duncan have graciously agreed to let MADAR reuse their regular email updates to constituents. Despite the overlap, we are running both versions of the MCC previews. Readers can choose to read both, either or neither of the previews.]
The City Council meeting coming up this Tuesday will cover just one item: the proposed RAP (Recreation, Arts & Parks) tax, which will show up as “Proposition 8” on City voter ballots for the November 2020 election. I’ll add a few other items that may be of interest below the Sept 22 meeting info.
City Council meeting – 7:00pm, online only
You can watch this meeting online live (or after the fact) on the City’s YouTube channel here: https://www.youtube.com/channel/UCl00z0Zgdmz4y1FoI0l7CJA.
- As a reminder of how/why we’re meeting electronically, the agenda notes “Consistent with provisions of the Utah Open and Public Meetings Act, Utah Code Ann. § 54-2-207(4), the Moab City Council Chair has issued written determinations supporting the decision to convene electronic meetings of the Council without a physical anchor location. Due to the health and safety risks related to the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic and considering public health orders limiting in-person gatherings, the Moab City Council will continue to hold meetings by electronic means.”
You can find the 2-page Sept 22 agenda here: https://moabcity.org/AgendaCenter/ViewFile/Agenda/_09222020-968. There is a packet link that takes you here (https://moabcity.org/AgendaCenter/ViewFile/Agenda/_09222020-968?packet=true), but please note that there are no attachments to this packet, so the 2-page packet consists simply of the agenda above.
Proposition 8: Recreation, Arts, and Parks Tax (RAP) Public Comments
This is the only meeting item. As noted on the agenda, all meeting time “is allotted to the general public for comments ‘for’ or ‘against’ the RAP Tax question that will be on the upcoming ballot, Proposition 8.”
- The public can thus call, zoom or write in to the City Council with any comments about the RAP tax. Please note that if you’re calling or zooming in, you’ll want to do so at 7:00pm on Sept 22 with the link and/or phone number shown on the agenda (https://moabcity.org/AgendaCenter/ViewFile/Agenda/_09222020-968).
- If you’d like to submit written comments about Proposition 8 instead, please fill out this form noted on the agenda before 7:00pm on Tuesday: https://docs.google.com/forms/d/e/1FAIpQLSctVokQ-Lj1eMAGSn1ZK1NhSlq0nEEKm-CpgSuUCswPpUOjQw/viewform.
- Proposition 8/Recreation, Arts and Parks tax in the City, if it passes on our November ballot, would add a tax of 1 cent to every $10 spent within City limits on items other than non-prepared food and gasoline; that is you wouldn’t be paying the RAP tax on gas or food unless you bought some pre-prepared food item. The appeal of the tax is that based on the City’s 2019 revenues, more than 79% of a local RAP tax would be paid by tourists. Municipalities across Utah are being urged by the State to explore alternate funding sources, and this is one that would appear to impact visitors far more than locals.
- To give you some idea of how much money could be collected, we’re told that looking at 2019 sales tax revenues, the City could collect $300,000-$400,000 a year.
- So where would the collected money go? As a RAP (Recreation, Arts & Parks) tax, it could only be spent on programs, facilities and operations in the City tied to recreation, cultural arts and parks/trails.
- Think of the Moab Arts & Recreation Center, the Recreation and Aquatic Center, the Center Street Gym, City recreation programs and parks for example. An amount could also be used to grant to qualifying nonprofit organizations, eg in the arts.
- RAP tax/Prop 8 money couldn’t be put into the City’s general fund, nor could it fund other departments outside of recreation, arts & parks/trails.
- It is my understanding that the public would have a say in how funds are used as well.
- Here are related web pages and articles:
- City web page about Prop 8: https://moabcity.org/559/Proposition-8-for-Recreation-Arts-Parks
- City info sheet with answers to frequently asked questions about Prop 8: https://moabcity.org/DocumentCenter/View/2918/Proposition-8-FAQs
- Moab Sun News artcile 9-18-20 about Prop 8: https://www.moabsunnews.com/news/article_a1f80c3e-f9c6-11ea-a022-03f2b7ddeb0b.html
- Times-Independent 9-18-20 article about Prop 8: https://www.moabtimes.com/articles/rap-approval-would-add-1-to-sales-tax/
- Letters and opinion pieces about the tax/Prop 8 that I’ve noted in our local papers:
- 8-27-20: https://www.moabsunnews.com/opinion/article_c0511abc-e324-11ea-a6ba-63db23826f74.html
- 9-4-20: https://www.moabsunnews.com/opinion/article_b0093f7c-eef5-11ea-9ae5-aba771a1e457.html
Other items of interest not on the agenda
Mill Creek Community Collaborative survey. Thanks to Betsy Byrne of the National Park Service for circulating information on how residents can have a voice in how the Mill Creek/Powerdam area is managed moving forward.
- Per an email from Betsy asking for help circulating the survey link, “If you’ll recall, last year the Mill Creek Community Collaborative (MCCC) put out a survey to better understand the interests and concerns the Moab community has regarding Mill Creek. The MCCC took that feedback and used it to develop several management options. The group is now taking those options back to the public to test those ideas and get feedback. To learn more, visit the web page the MCCC has put together.
- There is a lot of information on that page to help inform your survey responses. You can review that here: bit.ly/MillCreekCC.
- Once you’ve taken a look at that information, please take the survey! The survey can be accessed from the web page, or here: bit.ly/MillCCSurvey.
- KZMU recently ran a story about the process and the survey – it’s a quick 10-minute overview. You can listen to that here.
- Please pass this information along to anyone you think would be interested. We are hoping to get at least 500 responses to the survey. Once the survey closes, we will use the feedback to refine a final preferred option to present back out to the community and to the agencies involved. Thank you for your interest!” Please check the survey out, fill it out, and pass these links on!
City Council Sept 17 discussion about Arches Hotspot funding. As noted in my last update, the Council met last Thursday for a special meeting to review and discuss the Arches Hotspot Coordinating Committee’s draft “Off-Main Street Parking Concept“.
- If you missed it and are interested in the presentation by City Engineer Williams on Off-Main Street Parking Concept, as well as Communications and Engagement Manager Church’s presentation on the related survey, you can find the YouTube recording of the meeting here:https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=rmvsyNllsV0.
- The meeting was just an hour FYI, and if you’re someone who reviewed the packet in advance there were some updated slides and additional ones shared at the meeting on the 17th. (As a reminder there is also more info regarding the Hotspot Committee here: https://moabcity.org/558/UDOT-Hotspot-Funding-for-Moab-Area and you ca find the Committee agendas & minutes here: https://moabcity.org/AgendaCenter/).
Safe in Utah grant. Thanks to the Moab Chamber of Commerce for the heads up in their Sept 16 email about this.
- Safe In Utah Grant uses federal CARES Act funds as part of Utah’s response to the coronavirus pandemic. It provides grants for a business’s COVID-19 response that consists of the purchase of personal protective equipment (PPE), implementation of workplace redesigns, additional signage, new technology solutions for distance working, and other items to comply with COVID-19 public health guidelines on safely returning employees to work.
- Companies may receive $250 per full-time employee, or a business entity can receive funds for their actual or anticipated expenses. Award eligibility is the lesser of the two funding options.
- Safe In Utah begins accepting applications again on Sept. 16, 2020, at 9:00 a.m. (MDT). Link for more info and to apply: https://business.utah.gov/utah-covid-19-ppe-support-grant-program/
COVID-19 – latest numbers and articles. Per the Southeast Utah Health Department (SEUHD), Grand County has recorded 58 positive COVID-19 cases thus far, one of which is active. There appear to be no positives in our school district. For more details, visit: https://www.seuhealth.com/covid-19.
That’s it from me for now. Thank you for the emails and please do let us know on (or before) Tuesday what input you have for us about this potential Recreation, Art and Parks tax/Proposition 8!
Rani Derasary, Moab City Councilmember