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Tri State 9/11 Tribute, Airport Fly-in Granted Funds by Lodging Panel

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Two September events were approved for marketing funds by the Prowers Lodging Tax Panel and one event for October also received financial support during the Panel’s monthly meeting, June 21st.  The annual Tri-State 9/11 Tribute received full funding and the bi-annual Fly-In received a portion of their request.  Two other events were tabled pending receipt of additional funding for the Panel; the Lamar Community College Antelope Stampede which will run late September and early October and the Farm-City Banquet set for November 12th this year.

Panel members received some timely information last month, regarding how the state dispenses lodging taxes through the year. LuAnn Pyatt, Local Government Liaison from the Colorado Department of Revenue, met with the Prowers County Commissioners and some Panel members to explain accounting procedures when motel room taxes are sent to the state and how the Department of Revenue returns those funds to tourism organizations on a quarterly basis.  The Prowers Panel was unsure of the turn-around time on their funding, a matter that is crucial to how much and when they could fund marketing requests.

The Panel received $13,855 from the state in May and just recently got a payment of $7,980 for June. Based on past payments, the Panel said they can expect a sizeable payment from the Department of Revenue in August, historically around $23,000.  That knowledge helps members plan how much funding will be issued for the remainder of the year, balanced against expected requests from past annual events.  The yearly Panel budget is about $85,000 and they maintain a contingency fund of $14,000.  That sum, plus $9,900 was the current balance for the Panel as of June 21st against $32,750 that had been presented to the Panel to date.

The $2,000 request for the Tri-State 9/11 Tribute event was approved and the Lamar Fly-in received $2,164, the marketing portion of their total $10,000 request which was also earmarked for contract fees and aerobatic teams for the September 24th event at the Lamar Municipal Airport.  The Panel tabled the $9,700 request from Fred Sherwood for the annual LCC Antelope Stampede pending receipt of additional Funds and the Farm-City Banquet’s request for $5,050 to cover advertising expenses for the country-western performer, James Otto, was tabled for their November 12th annual event.  The October Sip and Savor fund raising event for the Share the Spirit Foundation received $2,400, the same amount as their request two years ago.

The turnover time for motel tax funding is one of two concerns the Panel has dealt with for several years. Members discussed the ratio between the costs of funding an event’s marketing expense versus how much revenue it will bring into the community based on motel room rentals.  The annual $85,000 budget is derived from a 2% lodging tax on motel room use through the year. Determining the number of rooms booked in the county per event is not an easy process.  Promoters are asked to supply that information on their funding request forms based on their preceding event.  First time requests have no information they can provide and there are some events which may not attract visitors who opt to spend the night in the county.  For that reason, the Panel has urged promoters to spend their advertising with regional rather than local media outlets.  One idea discussed was to base the funding allowance on a percentage of return on investments, or X number of dollars based on X number of room rentals.  While some events may only be a day long, several have a substantial attendance draw which can contribute to the overall economy of the county through ancillary sales such as gas, restaurants or department store purchases.  However, those taxes do not benefit the Lodging Panel which needs the 2% funding to help finance tourist-related events.

By Russ Baldwin

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Filed Under: City of GranadaCity of HollyCity of LamarCity of WileyConsumer IssuesCountyEconomyEntertainmentFeaturedTourismTransportation

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