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Lodging Panel Reviewing Funding Policies for 2019

 

 

The Prowers County Lodging Tax Panel set Wednesday, January 9th of next year as a work session to review some of their general policies for funding future events in the county as well as to determine the best way to attract events that will increase overnight visitors to Prowers County.

The Lodging Tax Panel funds various groups and individuals who plan events which can attract visitors to Prowers County, specifically events which can draw overnight visitors. The Panel is financed by a 2% motel room tax levied on motels, hotels and B & B’s throughout the county for the year.  The taxes are paid to the state by the motel owners and the county and the Panel receives those taxes back on a quarterly basis.  The average annual funding is around $100,000.  Funding applicants are expected to detail how many overnight visitors were generated by their event as well as how they spent their funding on marketing and advertising for their event.    The Panel by-laws restrict donations for tangible items such as permanent signs or souvenirs.  One drawback is that not every motel is forthcoming with that information which they consider private and not every applicant provides an accurate bed-count.  And there are just some events which don’t pull in very many overnight visitors.

Since the Panel was created over ten years ago, there have been new events developing within the county along with annual repeat activities such as the Sand and Sage Fair Concert or the Holly Bluegrass Festival. The Panel has seen increases in the dollar size of some requests and several are being made months in advance of the event.  This impact on annual revenues, which are mostly static, is prompting the Panel to review how to attract more visitors to local events and how to determine the best return on investment for the marketing funds.

A quick hypothetical breakdown on revenues shows that if the Panel funds an event for $10,000 and only ten rooms are rented at $100 each, the 2% tax on the $1,000 motel fee translates to a $20 return for the panel. The fact that the rooms are rented through the year to area travelers just passing through the county also adds to the Panel’s annual budget.

Two events received funding during the Panel’s December 18th meeting.  The annual Sand and Sage Roundup Concert received $15,000 for their August event and the High Plains Snow Goose Festival received $8,000 for their annual event scheduled for February 7-10 in Prowers County.

By Russ Baldwin

Filed Under: Consumer IssuesCountyEconomyEntertainmentFeaturedTourismTransportation

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