Two counties in Utah misspent room tax money on projects counter to state law, audit shows

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Two counties in Utah used transient room tax revenue for tasks not permitted beneath state regulation, however a new legislative audit found most counties comply with the spending rules.
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SALT LAKE CITY — Two counties in Utah used transient room tax income for tasks not permitted underneath state regulation, but a new legislative audit found most counties adjust to the spending guidelines.

And the eight counties the Legislative Auditor Basic’s Workplace reviewed need state lawmakers to permit more discretion on find out how to spend the money. The auditalso discovered that counties aren’t submitting required studies to the state on using the funds.

The audit comes as counties have increasingly more room tax dollars at their disposal. Revenues elevated 53 % up to now 5 years because of elevated lodge stays, in line with the report.

Legislative auditors have been tasked with discovering out whether or not counties are spending the tax in accordance with state regulation. Auditors chose Davis, Garfield, Grand, Salt Lake, Wasatch, Washington, Wayne and Weber counties for the evaluate.

Washington and Grand counties spent a few of the income on their airports, which the regulation does not permit.

Washington County stopped putting money toward its airport bond after the error was discovered through the audit and now ensures that the funds go to its convention middle. Grand County used the income for enhancing airport runways and transforming the terminal in 2017 but hasn’t since.

Counties can charge as much as a 4.25 % room tax. The state requires at the very least forty seven % to be spent solely on promoting tourism and 53 % on tourism tasks and dealing with impacts visitors have on communities.

Salt Lake County collected $seventy six.eight million in room tax income from 2013 to 2017, followed by Summit County at $38.2 million and Washington County at $27.1 million. Morgan County had the least at $29,268.

General, the state brought in $240.three million over that period.

The audit confirmed that Salt Lake and Garfield counties spent the minimum on promotion, whereas Wayne and Weber counties spent sixty two % and 61 %, respectively.

Although most counties spent all their room tax cash annually, Washington County had $10.6 million within the financial institution as of December 2017, based on the audit.

Till the audit, the county didn’t understand that it nonetheless must cut up the money between tourism promotion and tasks as outlined in the regulation.

“There might have been some confusion within the counties as to how much was required to be spent on promotion,” the audit stated, noting Wayne County using…

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