Council approves budget, including philharmonic funding
The Draper Philharmonic and Choral Society performs during the March 21 city council meeting. The DPACS received funding when the fiscal 2017 budget was approved by the council on May 2. (Kelly Cannon/City Journals)
The Draper City Council approved the 2017 fiscal budget, including funding the new Draper Philharmonic and Choral Society (DPACS) despite differing opinions on the council about the validity of funding a private entity. The budget was approved during the council’s May 2 meeting.
The budget was introduced to the council by Finance Director Bob Wylie, who explained different additions to the budget, including $35,000 for the Draper Philharmonic and Choral Society. Wylie said the funding would come from the general fund appropriation.
During the public comment portion of the budget hearing, Sheri Jensen, the director of the Draper Philharmonic and Choral Society, thanked the council for putting the item on the budget.
“I really want to thank you for supporting what we’re trying to do for this city,” Jensen said. “I really hope you’ll give us the funding so we can establish this entire entity as we dream it to be.”
Gary Merrill, a resident of Draper since 1994 and a member of the DPACS, said since 1996 he’s driven up to Salt Lake at least once a week to play the clarinet in the Salt Lake Symphony.
“Nothing would please me more than to have a fine symphonic orchestra a little closer to home,” Merrill said. “This is a vehicle to release the creative powers of our fellow citizens of Draper. This can provide benefits to people of all ages in the community. It raises the quality of our community in many ways that are difficult to quantify in dollars and cents.”
Councilman Jeff Stenquist had a few questions about funding the DPACS, mainly what the funds would be used for.
“We’re spending taxpayer dollars so I think we really need to understand what this request is and how that money is going to be used,” Stenquist said.
Wylie said it was his understanding that the DPACS was going to purchase instruments with the funds.
“If you approve the funding, we would need to enter into a contract with that entity on how they would use the money and we’d have to have a reporting mechanism. In other words, if they buy an asset with taxpayer money, they have to maintain that asset and report on how it’s used and where it’s at,” Wylie said. “And then, if for some reason, that entity is no longer viable, what happens to the asset? Since the asset was purchased by the city, it would then be returned to the city.”
Stenquist said he couldn’t remember the council ever allocating a large amount of money to an entity to purchase equipment.
“It’s normal for us as a city to build ball fields and then we let organizations use those ball fields. We built the amphitheater and we let people perform there. But we don’t necessarily buy the sports equipment for them to use. We don’t necessarily buy the musical instruments or the things necessary to perform at the amphitheater,” Stenquist said. “I think this is a highly unusual arrangement for us to get involved in.”
Stenquist said he was also worried that by approving this type of allocation, it would open up the floodgates for other entities to come in and ask for similar arrangements.
Rappleye said he agreed with some of Stenquist’s concerns, but he didn’t believe the request was wholly unheard of.
“I agree with having an agreement and I think they can meet that agreement having talked to them,” Rappleye said. “They’ve got a good plan to show we got the most value out of it. I think that’s the most important part of it.”
Councilwoman Marsha Vawdrey said she believed it was a desirable addition to the community.
“But we need to stipulate this is a one-time funding. It’s not a commitment to plan for a future arts center,” Vawdrey said. “This is just to help get started. I want everybody to understand that.”