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Lodging Panel Funds Farm-City Banquet, Tri-State 9/11 Tribute

Two funding requests before the Prowers County Lodging Panel that were tabled earlier were approved at the Tuesday, August 15th meeting by board members.    The Tri-State 9/11 Tribute committee had requested $2,000 for marketing funds for the September 9th event and the Lamar Chamber of Commerce Farm-City Banquet, set for November 10th, had asked for $4,050.  The Panel received a quarterly tax payment from the state which allowed ample funding, sufficient to allocate funds for the requests.

Carla Scranton, Panel Business Manager, informed the group that the anticipated return of the Colorado State High School Rodeo Finals will not be held in Lamar. “Although we had pledged $32,000 to host the event, their organization decided to go with another community,” she explained.  The Rodeo Finals group books a venue for a two-year commitment with various communities vying to become the host city.  Lamar hosted the rodeos in 2016-2017 which saw around 300 participants and families in town for the three day event.  Early reports had indicated that because of the hospitality and professionalism displayed to them, the rodeo organizers decided that there would be no need to make a case to have Lamar remain the host city; they would be happy to commit to another two-year schedule, pending payment of the pledge.  Scranton said the Panel was surprised at the news as the financial benefit to the city was considerable.  Lamar won’t be able to bid until 2019 to be the host of the 2020-2021 event.

Panel member, Chad Hart, the organizer of this year’s newest Sand and Sage Fair Exhibition, the Dutch Oven Cookers Competition, said there was a great turnout for the first-time event. “We had 125 people come out for the samples from the teams starting at 5pm,” he explained, adding that it didn’t take long for the beef stew, corn bread an peach cobbler to be consumed. Each of the five teams prepared the same meal using Dutch Ovens and charcoal, a style of ‘cowboy cooking’ that had been in practice on the Plains for over a hundred years.  “I think if we do this next year, we’ll see a bigger turnout when word starts to spread and we’ll see if we get more teams to participate,” he stated.

Pat Palmer, Lodging Panel President, provided an update on the proposed 5% room tax that will appear on the November 2017 general ballot for the City of Lamar. The annual funds, an estimated $250,000, will pay for a full-time events coordinator and provide operational funds for a business office and costs associated with securing events to come to Lamar.  “We want someone who has experience in the field,” he said, adding that the person chosen will seek out and visit with organizations and events that would want to come to Lamar to hold their gatherings.  Palmer said the language for the November ballot should go through the City and the County by early September.  The tax, which will be levied on motel room rentals in the city, will be the only source of revenue.  Several board members related tax rates they had encountered at motels and hotels around the region, “We paid a total of 18% in Dodge City, KS,” stated Norma Dorenkamp.  A 2% county-wide motel tax exists to benefit the marketing requests made to the Lodging Panel.  The new 5% tax, if approved by a simple majority in the November election, will be allocated by a newly created panel and will offer a broader range of uses for the funds.

The next Panel meeting is scheduled for Tuesday, September 19th at the Rodeway Cow Palace Inn.

By Russ Baldwin

Filed Under: City of LamarConsumer IssuesCountyEconomyElectionsEntertainmentFeaturedRecreationTourismTransportation

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