Grand County has about $500,000 it needs to spend by July 1, on economic diversification, before House Bill 416 goes into effect.
If I were in charge, I would divvy up that half-million dollars equally among the 9,663 people the U.S. Census said lived in Grand County in 2021, the most recent year available. That amounts to about $51.74 for every person who calls Grand County home. Sorry, people who own second homes here do not qualify.
How can giving every resident in Grand County $51.74 have anything to do with economic diversification, you ask?
Well, we residents are impacted by tourists, and we need a little cash to help ease that impact.
I propose everybody use their $51.74 to purchase a bullhorn. I was amazed at how affordable they are. I found several under $50 on Amazon, most with free shipping.
Bullhorns are amazingly diverse. You’d think they weren’t much good for anything beyond idiots using one to lead the attack on the U.S. Capitol on the day Congress certifies the results of the presidential election, but you’d be wrong.
You could bring one to City Market to shout out messages like these:
Leave us locals some scraps!
Please return the frozen pizza you left in the eggs case back to the frozen aisle!
Did you really just kneel on two loaves of bread to keep your knees clean?!
One of us could just stand at the self-checkout lane and repeatedly shout: Assistance needed on (whatever) register!
Assistance needed on (whatever) register!
You could use it while driving by the Shell station on Spanish Trail Road.
There’s way cheaper gas a mile or two down the road!
You could use it while waiting to cross Main Street:
Slow the $%@& down!
Watch out for renegade truckers!
There’s a trashcan right over there!
We can use them out on the trail.
Hey, get off the biocrust! Who do you think you are? Kevin Costner?!
Why take the trouble to bag your dog’s poop and then leave the bag? In what world does that make sense?!
I hear Zion is beautiful this time of year!
Your muffler sounds so angry!
At midnight we can walk around all of the overnight rentals with OHVs parked outside and proclaim:
Ain’t freedom great! The Legislature says we can make all the noise we want! Bullhorn! BULLhorn! BULLHORN!
Hmmm, that last one might not be cool. Chances are at least one of those victims of noise pollution will complain to their buddies in the Utah Legislature, which will then promptly ban bullhorns in Grand County. Because, you know, priorities.
We could each throw our $51.74 into a campaign war chest to find someone that would represent us in the Legislature instead of working overtime to do us harm.
I imagine $500,000 should be more than enough to mount an effective run for office.
I also imagine $500,000 would pay for a huge party at the park in November, after the Moab Folk Festival ends and before the Christmas Light Parade begins. We could call it “We Survived Another Year” of tourism party.
On the practical side, we could pool our money and buy a couple of needed patrol units for Sheriff Wiggins. They’re busiest during tourist season. Or we could use that money to help fund flood mitigation or pothole abatement or — here’s an idea — to pay for someone to come and remove all the weeds from all the yards in Grand County. I mean, nothing says “We Heart Tourists” like a beautification project.
These are my recommendations, as a responsible resident of Grand County. If lawmakers have taught us anything, they’ve taught us that we can bend the rules to meet our needs and we really don’t need to worry about how our decisions affect other people’s lives.
So, what will you do with your $51.74?