Lodging Panel Funds October MMA, Sets 2013 Budget


Prowers County Courthouse

The Prowers Lodging Tax Panel voted to approve half the funding request for a MMA, Mixed Martial Arts Event in Lamar to coincide with the annual Oktoberfest celebration on October 6.  Local resident, Arnulfo Ortega, who helped coordinate the first MMA event held in Lamar, said he and a new promoter, Gabriel Charboneau from Pueblo are working to set up the third such event in town for October.  Ortega had requested $5,000 for marketing and advertisement funds and the panel decided to fund $2,500 towards the project.  Their decision for half the funding was based in part that there had been no information on the number of motel rooms rented from the last event, although Ortega was not connected to the second MMA held in Lamar last year.  Ortega said seven athletes from the Lamar area should be taking part this year, with participants expected from Colorado and surrounding states.  The Lamar Community Building was filled to capacity for the first event.  A series of date changes was partly responsible for a decline in attendance for the second. 

Lodging Panel members decided that with little change in the scope of events that they funded last year to the present, they adopted and approved the same budget as in 2012, for an operating budget of $46,908. 

Last month’s meeting focused on a contingency fund that was recommended for the panel.  The fund would be used for any unanticipated events in a given year.   Panel members have a general idea of the dollar amount and number of repeat annual events that request funding.  The contingency fund would be used to supplement additional or new events.  County Commissioner, Joe Marble said the commissioners discussed the suggestion, leaving the amount up to the panel.  County Auditor, Ronnie Farmer recommended $40,000, but panel members said that amounted to about half their annual budget.  It was decided that that figure could be a goal which would be achieved over several years as set-asides into a reserve fund, holding back around $15,000 a year.

 Board members discussed advertising the county activities in Colorado Country Life magazine.  A series of advertisements would be placed in the publication spanning a year and the cost of the ads will be priced out before the panel makes a decision.  Judy Douglas, board member and director of the Lamar Welcome Center said it would take about $1,000 to repair a Welcome Center Sign that had been vandalized and split down the middle, top to bottom.  The panel authorized $500 for repairs and the state is expected to match that amount.    Discussion also focused on the on-going problem of determining how the state decides to send Lodging Panel checks to the county based on the 2% motel room user tax.  Checks are issued, but range between $0.73 to $12,000 with no set schedule or explanation to the quarter-annual billing process.  Board President, Pat Palmer, asked if state legislation would be possible to keep the funds in the county without having to pass through the state.  The next panel meeting is set for Tuesday, September 18.

By Russ Baldwin

Filed Under: BusinessChamber/Local BusinessCommissionerscommunityCountyEconomyEntertainmentFeaturedGranadaHollyLamarRecreationTourismTransportationWiley


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