The League of Women Voters gathered at the Weber County Library on Monday night to listen to RAMP program chair George Hall discuss the RAMP program.
RAMP (Recreation, Arts, Museums and Parks) is a sales tax taken out for purchases made in Weber County.
One cent out of every ten dollar purchase or one tenth of every cent applied to sales goes toward RAMP, amounting to about $12 per family a year.
The 2014 tax attributable to RAMP was $3.1 million to be used in 2015.
Of this amount, $47,000 is held by the county as an administrative fee counting for 1.5 percent. The other $3,078,000 is split between EZ grants, one third allocated to major projects over $200,000, allocation payments for past projects and two thirds for municipal grants divvied out by $1 per person for that municipality.
In November of 2014, the reauthorization of the RAMP program was approved by around 75 percent of voters.
Free Summer Saturdays is one of many opportunities supported by RAMP, $70,000 is given to these entities that provide services for Free Summer Saturdays.
“Any given Saturday you have three to six choices of things to do with your children, even doing multiple activities on a Saturday,” Hall said. “These are activities that keep families busy throughout the summer.”
The rest of the funds are allocated to the arts, museums, recreation and parks.
Grant applications are submitted in January and reviewed by the county legal office for compliance. The county auditor office provides a write up on the applications. Then it reaches the RAMP committee in early February to be divided amongst assignments within RAMP.
RAMP liaisons go to the applicant to get further details and see what is being requested. Subcommittees are held to hear and consider the different applications.
RAMP has 15 board members appointed by the county commissioners. If interested, you can apply for vacant positions. There are three year terms, with the possibility to serve two terms, wait a cycle and serve again if voted in.
There is a method of how the applications are reviewed and chosen on the RAMP website at http://www.webercountyutah.gov/ramp/. Good geographic distribution of funds for projects is desired, and multiple projects for different municipalities need to be prioritized.
In regards to Weber State, the new seats in both the Austad and Allred theaters were contributed by RAMP.
A larger tax for RAMP, even one cent per ten dollars more would double the funding stated Hall.
“I think in general [RAMP] is a great program. Funding lots of great projects in our area. It is one of the best uses of money in our community. I would encourage people to learn more about it and encourage organizations to apply” stated Luis Lopez, newly elected to the city council, who was also in attendace.
Lopez has an interest in the RAMP program because of its connection to indoor recreation that he may also be able to seek funding for.
“Maybe sometime down the road I will explore heavily the possibility of sending an application to become a member of RAMP and become an advocate of RAMP to make sure these projects keep happening and find more ways to fund more porjects” stated Lopez.
“The RAMP program provides opportunities for college students just the same as it does for other members of the community” Weber County League of Women Voters president Terri McCulloch said.
McCulloch also states that publicizing RAMP, going to events with family, along with reading and learning about RAMP provides the information that will help further RAMP support.