Prowers Lodging Tax Panel, on the Money Trail

Money, how much, and where is it coming from, were the main issues before members of the Prowers Lodging Tax Panel during their monthly meeting this past Tuesday, May 17. The panel is funded through a 2% tax levied on motels and hotels in the county. The taxes are collected quarterly, sent to the state like any other retail business and paid back quarterly through the county to the panel. The funds are used to promote events that generate tourism in Prowers County. The panel operates realizing there is a several month time lag on receiving the funds from the state, and the amount is never the same.

A problem has arisen over when those funds are sent to the county from the state, which department issues the check and why do the checks fluctuate from as much as $9,900 from the most recent payment, to one for as little as $4.75! Ideally, there should be only four payments issued through the year, in amounts corresponding to the number of people using motels and hotels in Prowers County, but that’s not the case. Lodging Panel president Pat Palmer is contacting state representative Wes McKinley to see if he can generate some answers, and county commissioner Henry Schnabel is contacting other counties with similar panels to see if there’s a statewide pattern to the sporadic payments. Anis Malkan, motel owner and panel member, reviewed the monthly statements issued by the city based on taxes generated through motels and hotels and determined the panel was under funded for the last quarter. Commissioner Schnabel said, “It costs the state about $28 in paperwork to issue a single check, so the $4.75 payment makes no sense to me.” Past calls to the state treasurer’s office for an answer hasn’t provided a lot of satisfaction for panel members.

The panel has funds, but some projects have been put on hold, such as the LCC annual Antelope Stampede and the PCMP races set for August. Lamar has also been targeted as the host city for the state high school rodeo championships for 2012 and 2013 which also require significant up front funding. The rodeos have been put on hold, pending treatments for a statewide influx of equine herpes virus, but once that issue has been resolved, the panel will require funding to secure host city rights.

By Russ Baldwin

Filed Under: BusinessCommissionerscommunityCountyEconomyRecreationTourism


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