ST. GEORGE — The Washington County Commission voted Tuesday to support the funding of projects connected to recreational facilities in St. George and Hurricane with tourism tax revenue. The projects include the expansion of the Little Valley Pickleball Complex and improvements for a new equestrian park.
The County Commission unanimously approved interlocal agreements between the county and the cities of St. George and Hurricane for the applications of transient room taxes, also known as TRT, toward projects slated to enhance both tourism and the local community.
“This is absolutely a mutual benefit and partnership with our cities that benefits our citizens as well,” Commissioner Victor Iverson said.
The St. George Pickleball Complex, which currently host 24 courts, is slated to receive additional courts as well as one described as a “championship” court that will include stadium seating. The county is putting $1 million in tourism tax toward this project. The last time the complex saw a major expansion was 2015.
Another project in St. George the commission approved $1.5 million tourism funding for is the replacement of grass with artificial turf on the soccer fields at the Fields at Little Valley sports complex. This replacement is projected to save an estimated 17 million gallons of water annually while also extending the time the fields can be used throughout the year.
Commissioner Adam Snow said he walked on some of the artificial turf and had a hard time telling the difference between it and real grass.
The new Hurricane Park and Arena was also given a nod by the commission with the application of $308,600 to be used for bleachers and lighting.
In order to get the transient room tax funds, the applying municipalities must already be funding at least half of the costs of the highlighted project for which they want the tourism funds.
Transient room tax is a tax imposed on temporary lodging like hotels, campgrounds and short-term rentals. This money is collected by the state and redistributed to the counties from which it is taken. While devoted to the enhancement and support of tourism-related facilities and services, the tax can also have a local benefit.
“These are tourism tax dollars that are designated for venues and facilities that not only enhance tourism (but also) our community and way of life.” Iverson said.
The tourism tax dollars also are estimated by county officials to save residents up to $1,400 on property taxes annually.
In other business during Tuesday’s meeting, a contract for a new county bee inspector was approved. The contract was taken up by Blaine Nay, who also serves as the Iron County bee inspector.
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