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Prowers Lodging Panel Funds Two Events, Discusses Finances

The Prowers Lodging Tax Panel voted to fund two springtime events and tabled a third during their March 20th meeting.  Panel members have been aware that some repeat event requests have grown larger from one year to the next and are being made earlier on the calendar.  While at the same time, the amount of income generated by the 2% motel room sales tax hasn’t varied much from one year to the next.  As a result, funds are finite and Panel members agreed they will discuss potential solutions at future meetings.

The three requests at the March 20th meeting came from Connie Brase, representing The Prairie Showdown scheduled for June 9-10.  Brase requested $2,500 and was granted $500 by the Panel.  Pat Palmer, representing the Arkansas Horse Pullers scheduled for Lamar Days on May 19th received his $1,500 request.  Trevor LaCost, co-originator of the Downtown Custom & Classic Expo, a new event for downtown Lamar, had his request for $5,000 tabled for future consideration.

Panel president, Jane Felter, told Panel members that $41,000 has been pledged to future events, but at this time, not paid out of the annual budget of $90,080. The Panel receives payment from the state based on the 2% motel tax throughout the county.  It is made in quarter-annual payments and varies depending on the number of rooms rented and funds generated by the motels in the county.  The most recent payment for $29,652 was made in February and was from the final quarter of 2017.

The events that have been pledged funding are: Colorado Junior Rodeo Association finals for $15,000, the Southeast CO All-State Rodeo for high school students for $6,000, the Colorado Life Magazine, Southeast Colorado issue for $3,000, Rural Philanthropy Days for $1,000 and the Sand and Sage Round-Up August Concert for $16,000.  Two events that requested funds were tabled for a second month:  $10,000 from Holly Gateway Classics/Concert for the end of September and $1,000 for Rural Philanthropy Days for this June.

Pledges have been made mostly to repeat events, usually on the basis that some of the funding is sometimes needed months earlier than the event in order to secure a contract for a performer. Since its inception the Panel has never been short of funding, going so far as to establish a $17,000 contingency fund.  A review of recent years of Panel funding indicates hardly any requests have been made in April and funding from the state has almost always been made in May and sometimes again in June.

Panel members were in agreement that some belt-tightening would be forthcoming and funded events would be required to provide documentation on how the funds were used and some form of return on investment be shown from the number of overnight stays in motels which were generated by the event.

In other action, Panel members voted to ratify and signed the By-Laws Review.  The next Panel meeting is set for Tuesday, April 17th at 4pm at the LCC Administration Building on the lower level.
By Russ Baldwin

 

Filed Under: City of GranadaCity of HollyCity of LamarCity of WileyCollegeConsumer IssuesCountyEconomyEntertainmentFeaturedRecreationThe ArtsTourism

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