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Prowers Lodging Panel Sets 2017 Budget

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The Prowers County Lodging Tax Panel spent most of their meeting, Tuesday, September 20th, developing their budget for the approaching year.  Although the panel uses past revenues as a guideline, there was limited discussion on how the downtown Main Street renovation project might impact next year’s tourist trade.  The panel uses revenues based on a 2% sales tax on motel rooms to help fund tourist-based events in the county.  The yearly average is in the neighborhood of $90,000 which is the figure the panel decided to use for 2017.  The panel maintains a $14,000 contingency fund to cover unanticipated funding requests.  Many of the annual events are repeats in the county such as the LCC Antelope Stampede or the Farm-City Banquet, while some may be brand new with no history of a draw for overnight motel guest in the county.

Because of past CDOT road projects in Prowers County last year, especially between Granada and Holly on Highway 50, some of the work crews used area motels for months at a time while the project was underway. That may also be the case for the Main Street renovation project which is expected to begin next spring and continue thru the late fall.  The project should last two years, but it’s only speculation at this point on how many construction workers would be employed or rooms rented.

Vincent Gearhart, who chairs the annual Snow Goose Festival, requested $9,233 for marketing, advertising and contract fees for what will be the 15th anniversary of the festival this February.  The three-day event is held in Lamar and will run from the 16th to the 19th and has featured noted speakers and authors on bird-watching.  Gearhart explained the festival now offers heritage history which is a developing trend in tourism entertainment.  A photography contest is also scheduled as well as a banquet, tours of the region for bird watchers and an art/craft show.

Because the current balance of available funding is at $4,841, the panel voted to table Gearhart’s request until later in the year. Carla Scranton, Panel office manager, noted the final quarter of motel tax payments would not be received until November or December.  Last year, the panel received $24,539 in November and $7,415 in December.  2015 Year to date payments on the 2% motel tax were $93,314.  The next panel meeting will be on October 18th.

By Russ Baldwin

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

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