MOAB, Utah — With no tourists, and very few expected in the next few months, Grand County is planning to make budget cuts to compensate for lost revenue.
Grand County Council Administrator Chris Baird says they’ve got tough decisions to make as most of the county’s money comes from tourism tax dollars.
Grand County budget cuts
According to Baird, Grand County officials must cut up to 30% of their general budget for one reason. Lack of tax revenue. So the county is looking to reduce hours for workers, cut salaries and cancel capital and planning projects. Additionally, 10% of county workers are already furloughed.
Grand County, where Arches National Park is located, “relies on over 70% of its revenue directly from tourism sources. Another 15% is indirectly related to tourism. So, 85% of Grand County’s spending money comes from the taxes people pay on hotels, dining in restaurants and rental cars,” Baird said.
“And the majority of the population,” Baird notes, “is reliant on jobs in those industries, and now they are out of work.”
Many residents of Grand County cannot contribute to the local economy due to being out of a job.
Where is the money going?
To complicate matters, Utah law requires Grand County to spend 48% of its room tax revenue on tourism advertising. But since tourism is tanking, Grand County officials say they have no alternative but to make budget cuts.
“This is very prohibitive in allowing them [the council] to shift funds into diversifying their economy,” says Baird.
Baird says they’ve tried for decades to convince the Utah legislature to allow the county to spend advertising funds on getting more industries into the county, but to little success.
The upshot: Grand County must make deep budget cuts to slow the economic bleeding.
Baird is optimistic tourism will pick up in the fall, with the hope some workers can return to their jobs.
Today’s Top Stories
- Three things you need to do before you can run a marathon
- All six female Utah state senators walk out to protest invasive abortion ultrasound
- Three arrests in connection with Sapphire Drive homicide in Sandy
- Need something last minute? Here’s what is open Christmas Eve and Christmas Day
- Athletes at the Tokyo Olympics will not need a vaccine to participate, organizers say
- Lost athletic scholarship opportunities for some high school seniors
- Biden adds Michigan to win total, delivering blow to Sanders
- Utah officials watch for COVID-19 variants, say UK strain not dominant yet
- OPINION: Another day, another massive data breach
- Man says he removed the mysterious Utah monolith