City residents will vote on two proposals which could raise sales tax by .35 percent. City officials estimate that the proposed sales tax would generate approximately $175,000 a year in revenue.
The funds could be used to pay for debt incurred on recreation facilities being considered by the city.
The results of the voting will determine how the city moves forward on the additional recreation facilities. City manager Chris Webb reports that while two specific proposals are under consideration, “the City is considering a number of options and partnering opportunities.”
Proposals being considered include a “wellness center” that could include indoor sports courts and may include weight, exercise and dance facilities.
Another proposal is a replacement for the city swimming pool that may include water play grounds.
City officials stress that the facilities are in the planning phase and no decisions have been made. In fact, Webb said, “The Council will watch the election closely as an indication of community support.” He adds that the projects will not move ahead without voter support.
Two separate proposals are on the ballot. One would create a .25 percent sales tax that would be used for transportation infrastructure. The second would create a .10 percent sales tax for recreation programs.
Both taxes would enable the city to pursue recreation projects as the transportation tax would free up general fund money, currently spent on transportation, that could instead be spent on recreation.
Blanding recreation programs have grown by approximately 40 percent over the past four years and the annual recreation budget exceeds $220,000. This has included growth in employees, parks, facilities and programs.
Webb said that the City realizes the need to secure resources to meet the increasing demands of the recreation programs.
San Juan County fowards federal Payments in Lieu of Taxes (PILT) funds, totaling roughly $90,000 a year. to communities for many years. Blanding annually receives approximately $25,000 a year of these funds. As a result, the PILT funds from the county provide roughly ten percent of the annual revenue for the recreation programs in Blanding.
Webb states that the City recreation board has considered a proposal to raise fees for out-of-city residents who participate in Blanding City recreation programs. However, he added that no recommendation has been made and the City Council has not considered the issue.