City adopts guidelines for donations

By Nathaniel Smith • The Times-Independent

In an attempt to be more transparent when it comes to how the City of Moab supports community-based organizations and special events, the city council adopted new guidelines and procedures to direct community contributions and event sponsorship. Resolution 35-2018 was passed unanimously at the regular city council meeting on Sept. 10.

The community contributions program will replace the old system of fee waivers for special events. Moab Mayor Emily Niehaus said, “This council has struggled with one-off fee waivers and random contributions to certain people or organizations in the community and this council really wanted to be fair, transparent and systematic with that process.” She thanked city staff for developing procedures that will lead to “effective, efficient and transparent spending of taxpayers’ money.”

Total funding available for 2018-2019 is $85,000. Depending on whether one seeks funding from the special event sponsorship program or the broader community contributions program, the application date will vary. The community contributions program has an application deadline of Oct. 15, 2018. The resolution states the program “provides funds to eligible community organizations for initiatives that benefit the residents of Moab. Typically, these initiatives will constitute services that the City of Moab does not provide on its own, and may include a broad range of social, cultural, recreational or scientific endeavors.”

Applications for the special events sponsorship program must be submitted between Nov. 1, 2018 and Feb. 1, 2019. That program “provides funds for those organizations which seek to defray expenses associated with locally hosted special events.” This sponsorship program “replaces the fee waiver option with monetary awards that may be used for any expense related to producing special events within the city limits.”

Council Member Karen Guzman-Newton asked about the total funding amount. Niehaus noted the $85,000 is “budgeted, not obligated, so we may not spend up to it, but it’s there and available to us.” She added, “This is year one, so we’re going to find out just how clunky it is and learn from enacting this.” Guzman-Newton pointed out the budgeted amount was set with certain entities in mind that actually will not be funded through the new program. Council Member Tawny Knuteson-Boyd responded that other entities might approach the council, so it would be beneficial to budget extra funds and that the number was just a starting point anyway. The council agreed to leave the total at $85,000.

The offset deadlines may complicate budgeting for the program, pointed out Council Member Rani Derasary. She said contributions in the fall will have to be made while keeping in mind there will be more things to fund from the same pot come February.

Following the brief discussion, Council Member Kalen Jones moved to approve the resolution, which was seconded by Knuteson-Boyd. The motion passed with the approval of all five council members.