The “RAP” tax—recreation, arts, and parks tax—was introduced to Moab during the November 2020 election as Proposition 8. It’s a 0.1% sales tax included on sales and uses within Moab City limits. That’s one cent for every $10, intended to fund cultural and recreational facilities like theater, festivals, youth arts, museums, parks, and pedestrian trails. Based on data from 2019, the city expected the tax could raise $300,000 to $400,000.
The tax went into effect on April 1, 2021, after winning the vote 56.75% to 43.25%. Now, the city is deciding what to do with the funds raised so far.
Annie McVay, the parks, recreation, and trails director at the city, presented a few options to the City Council during a meeting on Wednesday, June 15. Recommendations were based on what other cities with RAP taxes have done in the past, McVay said—other communities distribute funds using an application process, fund only one project at a time, or use the tax funds for operational costs.
McVay’s suggestion to the council was to allocate 75% of the RAP tax funds to internal city projects, and 25% to outside nonprofit organizations.
“This tax was meant to offset the almost one million dollars in, for lack of a better word, the subsidy that was coming from the general recreation and arts department,” said Councilmember Tawny Knuteson-Boyd. “It wasn’t necessarily meant to do more, it was to catch up on things that have been neglected.”
Councilmember Jason Taylor echoed Knuteson-Boyd’s statement, adding that he was concerned about the 25% allocation to nonprofits. He would rather see the funds dedicated to “playing catch up” with recreational facilities that need repair, he said.
Taylor proposed a motion to make the allocations 80% for internal city projects and 20% to nonprofits, which Knuteson-Boyd seconded.
The number isn’t final forever; each year, the council will reassess. McVay also said that she wants to provide transparency on what the city spends the money on, saying the city will provide an annual work plan for the funds.
The new motion passed unanimously.
The Moab City Council meets on the second and fourth Tuesday of every month at 7 p.m. Meetings are streamed online at the Moab City Youtube channel. Schedules, agendas and opportunities for public comment can be found at www.moabcity.org