by Bill Boyle
Sales taxes, business license fees, building permit fees, impact fees... Monticello residents may feel that you are being asked, at every turn, to pay an increasing share of the cost of running the city government.
If you are thinking these things, please walk to a mirror, look in it and say the following, “I live in a pauper village.”
Does that make you feel better? The cold, hard truth is that Monticello is a pauper village. The City has few means of generating funds for community projects, short of the equivalent of standing on the street corner and begging from others.
One way that Monticello residents can help decrease this growing burden is by approving the proposed sales tax for recreation and transportation.
The proposed sales tax will help with the process of seeking funding from other sources. The sales taxes will help generate a small amount of money that can then be leveraged with funding from other sources, including local, state and federal sources.
The new sales tax rate would be 6.4 percent. Even if it is approved, this can be considered a tax decrease from the 6.5 percent sales tax that Monticello shoppers have paid for many years.
Earlier in the year, the State of Utah eliminated Monticello’s status as a “resort community” and as a result, its ability to charge a .5 percent resort community sales tax. The prior sales tax generated an estimated $90,000 a year that is now lost from city coffers.
Voter support for the proposed sales tax will allow the city to almost keep up with the tax structure it has had for years.
Sales tax revenues will be designated for a specific use, i.e. to generate funding for recreation and transportation infrastructure.
Approval of the sales tax will be helpful as the city pursues additional funding sources. It shows the funding agencies that voters have made transportation and recreation a priority for the city.
Acknowledging the financial reality in Monticello is not easy. This is a community with a heritage of do-it-yourself ingenuity.
In wealthier times, community members led the charge with an impressive list of community improvement projects. These projects were finished with a large amount of local financial input, including a golf course, a swimming pool, a library, a ski lift and more.
While the city is now in the process of completing a number of projects – including the visitor center, Veterans Memorial Park, Tractor Museum, Public Works Building and the water collection system – these projects are primarily funded through state and federal sources. The city government no longer has the ability to generate large amounts of money for community projects.
This is a troubling contrast to the City of Blanding, which seems to be constantly working on an impressive list of community improvement projects.
The strategy in Blanding is to develop a master list of future projects and begin putting away funds to help pay for it.
In the case of the new community fitness center, Blanding approached a host of funding sources with a strong argument: while they seek $5.4 million in funding, the City will contribute $750,000 of the total. Blanding City Manager Chris Webb said that the city has been saving for 12 years in order to have the $750,000 available for the project.
Of course, Monticello is not the only pauper village in Utah. The funding sources are approached by a large number of communities with a list of desperately-needed community projects and few internal resources to pay for them. I am sure that they appreciate a community that can at least bring something to the table.
• • • • •
Don’t forget to participate in the San Juan Record Book Club, which will meet for the first time on Thursday, October 30 to discuss Massacre at Mountain Meadows.
While it will be helpful to have read the book before the discussion, please do not decline to attend simply because you have not read the book. There should be an interesting and lively discussion.
The meeting begins at 7 p.m. at the San Juan Record office ast 49 South Main Street in Monticello.
• • • • •
We received less than one week’s notice last week that our deadlines for printing have changed. Instead of sending the paper to the printer on Tuesday morning, our new deadline for the printer is Monday afternoon.
As a result, we have had to make significant changes in how we approach our work week. While the standard deadline for advertising and submissions each week will remain Friday at noon, we will now need to rigidly enforce the deadline.
Our apologies for notification after the fact.