Though last Tuesday's election results show that residents in West Bountiful and Woods Cross voted down a sales tax increase for recreation, arts and parks, the final vote tally may tell a different story.
The tenth-of-a-cent tax-increase, known as a RAP tax, won handily in Centerville and passed by just over 200 votes in Bountiful last Tuesday.
That means that a multimillion-dollar South Davis Performing Arts Center will be built in Centerville on vacant land owned by the city's redevelopment agency.
But in Woods Cross, the RAP tax lost by 47 votes. In West Bountiful, it lost by seven.
Election officials have received more than 2,000 provisional and absentee ballots for the Nov. 6 election, and others may trickle in.
Of the provisional and absentee ballots, 53 are for the election in Woods Cross, and 44 are for West Bountiful. That means the tide could turn in both cities, though it's more likely in West Bountiful.
After polls closed and tallying of results started Tuesday night, the RAP tax was winning in West Bountiful, said Mayor James Behunin. But by the time all electronic votes were counted, it had fallen behind.
Behunin said that even though he supported the measure and voted for it, he's not too concerned that the tax appears to have failed.
"I'm just ready to go with what the voters want," he said. "If it's close, then it's close."
In Woods Cross, Mayor Kent Parry said he thinks the RAP tax would have won if someone had taken up the reins to garner community support for the tax.
But, he says, it was a bad election year.
Many Davis County residents were upset over four property tax increases, as well as a sharp increase in property values.
And a quarter-of-a-cent sales-tax increase for transportation projects and corridor preservation that was also on the ballot was defeated 58 percent to 42 percent.
"We may have missed out on an opportunity," Parry said.
A majority of the revenue generated by the tax would have gone toward the performing arts center, he said, but the other portion as much as 44 percent would have stayed in Woods Cross and could have helped fund the city's summer literacy program, sports and programs for the city's seniors.
Also, Parry said, it's unlikely residents of Woods Cross would have felt burdened by the tax in their city because the city doesn't have a grocery store, and residents do much of their shopping in Bountiful and Centerville, which approved the tax.
On Nov. 20, county election officials in Farmington will canvass the election at noon to make a final report and tally of votes. That's when residents will know for sure if their cities will institute the tax.
Even then, Parry said, if the RAP tax fails, the city may look at putting it on the ballot again and giving residents more information about how it could benefit them.After Salt Lake County residents voted down a ZAP tax (for zoos, arts and parks) in 1993, they approved it in 1996 and again in 2006.
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