The Provo City Council held a public hearing during the regular Council Meeting on October 20, 2015 at 6 PM in the council chambers located at 351 W Center St.

 Please click here to view the public hearing for the RAP tax.  The public hearing begins at minute 38:40.



Provo’s excellent opportunities for cultural arts, entertainment, and recreation for all citizens are among the best in the Intermountain West. These opportunities are essential for all ages because they improve the quality of life for those who participate regularly. Providing a wide range of recreational opportunities that appeal to the largest cross-section of our citizens is a primary goal of Provo City."  

    - Vision 2030, Section 3: Leisure

The Recreation, Arts, and Parks (RAP) tax will provide much-needed funding for upgrade and eventual replacement of parks infrastructure across the city. The Parks and Recreation Master Plan states that the primary priorities of Provo City residents are to: Maintain & Improve what exists, and Develop new programs and opportunities.

The RAP tax is an equitable, transparent, and sustainable method for achieving these priorities.

Recreation and parks facilities and programs promote economic vitality and otherwise enhance the quality of life for Provo residents. Many other cities around the state have overwhelmingly passed similar ballot propositions. The RAP tax will enhance the improvement and extend the life of existing facilities, as well as providing additional recreational and leisure opportunities that appeal to a large cross-section of Provo’s citizens.

Because the RAP tax is a sales-tax increment, its impact is not on Provo residents only but is shared by all who pay sales tax on non-food retail purchases within the city.

The allocation of RAP-tax receipts is restricted by state law to investment in recreational, arts, and parks facilities, such as:

  • Provo River Trail upgrades and expansion

  • Expansion of the Sundance Kids Film Festival to the Covey Center

  • Restroom and pavilion upgrades at City parks

  • Additional playgrounds at City parks

  • Lighting upgrades and other energy-conserving improvements at City parks

The RAP tax is NOT a property tax. Nor is it permanent. By definition, it is a 0.1% sales tax on non-food items, that is, a tax of one penny ($0.01) for every $10 spent on retail goods and services. It will be in effect for a period of 10 years, after which it may again be placed on the ballot for voter approval. By majority vote, the Provo Municipal Council supports the RAP tax ballot proposition, confident that the RAP tax will make Provo an even better place to live. Please VOTE YES for the RAP tax on November 3, 2015.



If passed, the Recreation, Arts, and Parks (RAP) tax would fill a want in the City. The City of Provo should focus on the needs not the wants.

The RAP tax is not consistent with the Guiding Principles for User Fees that the Council adopted on July 7, 2015. One of the principles in that document is that “individual beneficiaries of a service should pay for the service through user fees.” Should a shopper in a local store be charged a higher price for an improvement he or she will or will not use? It has been suggested that 1/10 of one percent will not even be noticed. That may be true, but it is not transparent.

Just because other cities have passed similar propositions, does not mean that Provo needs to follow suit. Other cities have not had a Utility Transportation Fund fee, a 17% increase in utility rates, and a $110 Million School Board Bond over the past two years. Provo has, and therefore, should avoid a new tax on our citizens and not just do it because other cities have done so.

Even though the RAP tax is only a 10 year commitment, once the City begins to rely on the revenue stream, it is going to be hard to let it go. The argument in 10 years will be that the Parks and Recreation department cannot function without the RAP tax.

Vote “NO” on the RAP TAX!



The Municipal Council passed a resolution on August 18, 2015 to place an initiative on the ballot regarding the Recreation, Arts, and Parks (RAP) tax. There are two reasons why I am against the RAP tax.

  1. Provo citizens have experienced enough tax/rate/fee increases recently.
  2. There is no compelling need.

Over the past two years, Provo residents have suffered through the following tax/rate/fee increases:

  • Utility Transportation Fund (UTF) added to utility bill for maintaining city roads.
  • Property Tax increase in current city budget approved August 4, 2015 with suggested annual future cost of living adjustments.
  • Same approved Budget adopted a 17% increase in utility rates.
  • Past two City budgets Council approved fee increases.
  • State legislature passed a bill raising gas tax by five cents per gallon.
  • County commission placed a ¼ cent sales tax increase on the ballot.
  • City approved $110 million school board bond.

Our citizens are overly-burdened, and they do not need any new taxes. There is no compelling need for the RAP tax:

  • 91% of Provo residents rated Provo parks, recreation facilities, and trails as “good or excellent.”
  • Provo Parks & Recreation has received national and local recognition in the “best practices of managing the design and delivery of high-quality parks and recreation as a valued and responsible public service.”
  • Parks & Recreation will be receiving the major part of new revenue from RAP tax.
  • Provo Parks and Recreation department is currently doing a commendable job with the current budget. Provo City’s parks are not in visible disrepair.
  • There is absolutely no compelling need to add a new tax for parks.

Because of these reasons I would encourage you to join with me and vote NO for the RAP TAX.



Emotional nay-saying that does not consider the specific grounds for the proposed RAP tax falls short. The statement opposing the new tax is an example of this failure. First, it simply adds the new tax to a list of other proposed, unrelated taxes and recently approved taxes in order to claim that Provo residents are weary of tax increases. But it offers no evidence of such weariness. Nor does the statement make plain that the real reason for the list is that the decades-long legislative neglect of municipal infrastructure, including roads, trails, parks, schools, and utilities, has reached a breaking point. The can is no longer kick-able. City officials have made plain that new revenues are critical if serious infrastructure failures are to be averted in the near future. The RAP tax offers a ready and continuing new source by modestly incrementing sales tax in Provo (one penny for every $10 spent).

The statement also claims that no compelling need exists for the new tax. To fail to see that the need is compelling is to consign the city’s infrastructure to ongoing neglect, with potentially catastrophic consequences for its residents. The RAP tax revenue is a vital piece in a comprehensive municipal plan for the ongoing care of current facilities and for their eventual replacement. Thus it is integral to a seamless pattern of upgrade and expansion by which Provo’s citizens will continue to enhance engagement with recreation, the arts, and green spaces.