The Summit County Council Wednesday voted to approve this year’s recommendations for Restaurant Tax funding. In the end, they decided not to reconsider a couple of applications that got zero funding—one of those being Park City Municipal’s request for Fourth of July activities.
The Citizens Advisory Committee for Restaurant Tax had turned down Park City, which had asked for $185,000 over two years for the Fourth of July—and also the Friends of Ski Mountain Mining History which asked for $85,000 to stabilize the Thaynes Conveyor.
Council Chairwoman Kim Carson said since the recommendations were given two weeks ago, some on the Council met with the Committee members and reviewed their process, the criteria they followed and methods they used to ensure fairness.
She said they decided to stay with the committee’s recommendations, although Park City and the Mine History requests were commendable.
“Both (are) extremely important to our communities and worthwhile projects, but we really felt like we needed to honor the process of the committee moving forward.” Carson said “(It) felt like if we were able to make changes, I mean especially since everything was published, we just didn’t feel like it was fair to then take away from some of the recipients that had already been selected. There is an option to take it out of the reserve account. However, that hasn’t been done and would set a precedent.”
Roger Armstrong seconded the comments from Carson. He said that every year, there are bound to be rejected applicants who object to the committee’s findings.
“If we start opening up (the Citizens Advisory Committee) process, we’re really substituting ourselves for them. I think if we do that then every year there’s going to be a harder press by people wanting us to make changes to the process that they’ve gone through.” Armstrong said “Given the amount of time that they spent, which is actually a stunning amount of time, to go through these evaluations and make these awards. I can’t imagine that in a week’s period of time and a short discussion on the council that we’re going to have the ability to take into account all the criteria (the Citizens Advisory Committee) puts into making decisions.”
He said that after his inquiry, he came to appreciate there’s a kind of science behind what the Committee does.
“Part of what they do is (…) looking to try and bring in new organizations and get them up and running. So that they’re in a position to generate more of the restaurant tax revenue for us, so that we’ve got more that we can give out.” Armstrong said “The other side of that process is that they’re also trying to get people in a position where they’re self-sustaining. Their very careful to make clear during the application project that organizations should not be budgeting for this money”
The Citizens Advisory Committee was able to recommend a small dose of funding for the two applicants because another request had been withdrawn. The Park City Ski and Snowboard Club had been granted $10,000 to host a Junior Nationals competition in 2019 but weren’t able to secure that event after all.
So, $5000 each was given to Park City and the Mine group.
The Citizens Committee recommended grants for some 50 recipients and totaling about $2.3 million—just about draining the Restaurant Tax money available.
Council Member Chris Robinson suggested in the future, perhaps the Committee not allocate all of their funding every year, so some reserve could be available.