Why should municipalities consider implementing a RAP Tax? According to various national studies, municipalities with vibrant cultural communities see an increase in property value, residents, tourism, an influx of businesses (employees want to live/work in exciting places), increase in tax revenue, as well as benefits to K-12 education.
City and county governments of all sizes can partner with the cultural industry to make their communities even better places to live and do business. All businesses need investment to succeed and Utah's municipalities have had an important tool available to them in the Recreation, Arts, and Parks Tax since 1994. These taxes set aside .001% of sales tax revenue for recreation, parks, and cultural use and is authorized by Utah taxpayers every 10 years.
In 2020, two communities voted to add/renew their RAP type tax: Moab and Summit County
Sample Ordinance--Local Sales and Use Tax to Support Recreation, Arts, and Parks
This provision shall be known as the “[Local Jurisdiction Name] Recreation, Arts, and Parks (“RAP”) Tax.”
The purpose of this provision is to provide for a dedicated source of funding for our community’s Recreation, Arts, and Parks facilities and organizations, which are deserving of public support and which greatly enhance our community in innumerable ways.
X.X.03 Legal Authority.
This provision is enacted pursuant to [Utah Code Ann. § 59-12-701, et seq., for Counties] [or] [Utah Code Ann. § 58-12-1401, et seq., for towns and cities].
X.X.04 Imposition, Amount, and Expiration.
There is levied for collection a local sales and use tax of [one-tenth of one percent] to fund recreational facilities, parks, and cultural and arts organizations in [Local Jurisdiction Name], as more specifically outlined in X.X.06 below, for a period of [ten years for counties and eight years for cities/towns] commencing on January 1, 20__ and ending on December 31, 20__.
Taxes imposed under this chapter shall be:
- Levied at the same time and collected in the same manner as provided in Title 59, Chapter 12, Part 2, the Local Sales and Use Tax Act, except that the collection and distribution of the tax revenue is not subject to Utah Code Ann. § 59-12-205(2) through (6);
- Levied for the period authorized in accordance with [Utah Code Ann. § 59-12-703, for Counties] [or] [Utah Code Ann. § 59-12-1402, for cities/towns]; and
- The records of the State Tax Commission, the Commission's performance under the contract between [Local Jurisdiction Name] and the Commission, and the records of any taxpayer subject to this tax shall be subject to review and audit as provided in the [Local Jurisdiction Name] contract with the Commission for the collection and distribution of the local sales and use tax and as provided by law.
X.X.06 Authorized Uses of Funds.
Funds collected pursuant to this provision may be used to:
- Provide funding for cultural facilities, recreational facilities, and zoological facilities and botanical organizations, cultural organizations, and zoological organizations in [Local Jurisdiction Name]; and
- Provide funding for a botanical organization, cultural organization, or zoological organization to pay for use of a bus or facility rental if that use of the bus or facility rental is in furtherance of the botanical organization's, cultural organization's, or zoological organization's primary purpose in [Local Jurisdiction Name].
- The distribution of revenues and determination of operating expenses shall be in accordance with [Utah Code Ann. § 59-12-701 et seq., for Counties] [or] [Utah Code Ann. § 59-12-1401, et seq., for Cities/Towns], the provisions of this chapter, and shall be subject to the policies and procedures adopted by the [city/county] council.
X.X.08 Advisory Board
There is hereby created an advisory board called the “RAP Advisory Board” which is tasked with the following responsibilities:
- Developing an application form and process for groups or individuals seeking to receive a distribution of the funds collected pursuant to this provision;
- Developing a plan for marketing to relevant organizations and facilities the opportunity to apply for funding;
- Establishing a set of guidelines for evaluating and funding the competing requests;
- Review applications submitted pursuant to the guidelines; and
- Making recommendations to the [city/county] council as to how funds should be distributed. Funding decisions are ultimately the responsibility of the [city/county] council.
- The RAP Advisory Board shall submit to the [city/county] council its proposed application form, proposed application process, proposed marketing plan, and proposed guidelines for evaluating and funding the competing requests for approval, which shall be reviewed on an annual basis by the [city/county] council.
- The RAP Advisory Board is comprised of the following:
- Five members of the general public who are knowledgeable and respected members of the recreation, arts, and parks community in [Local Jurisdiction Name], as appointed by the [city/county] council;
- Two members appointed by the Mayor; and
- The departmental head of the department within the mayor’s office that is responsible for overseeing the distribution of funds collected pursuant to this provision shall be a non-voting member of the RAP Advisory Board.
- Term of RAP Advisory Board Members:
- Except for the terms of office of the members of the first board to be established, the term of office of each member shall be three years and until the appointment and qualification of his/her successor. The terms of members of the first board established shall be staggered, as set at the time of the board member’s appointment by the appointing authority.
- Upon the expiration of a member's term, his/her successor shall be appointed for a full term of three years.
- The expiration date of the term of office of each board member shall be the first Monday in January in the year in which the person's term expires.
- The chair of the board or committee shall be selected by the members yearly or at such time as a vacancy occurs. The board may create whatever other officer positions as it sees fit to create.
- The RAP Advisory Board shall meet at least one time per year to review applications and make funding recommendations, but may meet more often, as decided by the board.
- All meetings of each board shall be open to the public and in compliance with the Utah Open and Public Meetings Act, Utah Code Ann. § 52-4-1 through 52-4-10.
X.X.09 Allocation of Funds.
- All of the funds collected under this provision shall be budgeted every year. Of the entire amount of RAP tax collected, [10%] shall be budgeted in a preservation and replacement fund. After the allocation of the initial [10%] the remaining funds shall be allocated [1/3] to recreation, [1/3] to arts, and [1/3] to parks. All recommendations made by the RAP Advisory Board and expenditures made by the City Council shall comply with this basic allocation of funds.
- The entire preservation and replacement fund shall be allocated [1/3] to recreation, [1/3] to arts, and [1/3] to parks. All allocations made by the RAP Advisory Board and expenditures of the preservation and replacement fund made by the City Council shall comply with this basic allocation. The preservation and replacement fund is a fund established with RAP tax revenue that may be allowed to accumulate over time and shall only be spent on the preservation or replacement of [Local Jurisdiction Name] owned cultural, recreational, or park facilities that would otherwise qualify for the use of RAP tax funding.
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