Tax Break Donations Sought to Help Fund Fairground Improvements


The Prowers County Commissioners are developing a state administered donation program to fund improvements at the fairgrounds. Southeast Colorado Enterprise Development, SECED Executive Director, Stephanie Gonzales, met with the board July 11th to discuss details for an application for Enterprise Zone credits for donors.  Working with an arm of the State Office of Economic Development and International Trade, the Economic Development Commission, EDC, the program will allow donations to fund public projects and the donors will be entitled to write off a portion of their donation at tax time.

The commissioners have several projects on tap. Heading the list is a shower and restroom facility for visitors to the fairgrounds and plans have been discussed by various board members for several years.  The fairgrounds have hundreds of visitors for rodeos each year, but the participants must make arrangements to either shower off-site or bring their own camper.  A portable facility was used once about ten years ago, but that annual amenity is cost-prohibitive and limits the number of persons who can use it.  County Administrator, Jo Dorenkamp has been working with Gonzales on the EZ application form which stipulates how a project would benefit a community.

“We have any number of visitors who use the fairgrounds for rodeos, which now includes a two-year commitment from the Colorado High School Rodeo Finals for 2016-2017 which will bring several hundred people to the town,” she stated. The commissioners listed other similar events including the PRCA rodeo coming this August, including a new bull-riding event, Shriner’s Circus spectators, barrel racers and more recently the mounted shooting events at the fairgrounds arena.  Each of these events, which usually last more than one day, contribute to the overall economy of the community through restaurant trade, gas sales, retail shopping and other offerings.  “We can help become a destination site for these types of visits as we increase the level of amenities we can offer for future visitors,” she explained.

Commissioner Wendy Buxton-Andrade suggested putting an end date of 2025 on the proposal as there could be additional upgrades which would fall under the EZ guidelines over the next several years. The annual tax credit limit for such a tax benefit is $750,000, but the commission set the first year donation cap at $350,000 which includes cash and in-kind donations.  Cash contributions receive a 25% tax break, while in-kind is eligible for 12.5%.  The wording for the tax credit application will be reviewed before submission to the state.

By Russ Baldwin

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