Lodging Tax Panel Approves Antelope Stampede Funding

The Prowers Lodging Tax Panel approved a $7,230 request from Fred Sherwood of Lamar Community College, to finance advertising for the annual LCC Antelope Stampede set for this September and October.  The Stampede is an annual regional college rodeo held at the Prowers County fairgrounds and hosts an estimated 400 college-age contestants from Wyoming and Colorado. 

The request was listed as Unfinished Business on the July 19 agenda, as it had been made several months ago.  A decision on the request was postponed due to a lack of funds in the Panel’s budget, because they had not received a quarterly payment from the state for several months.  Payments from the state, based on motel and hotel taxes in the county, have been paid out on an infrequent schedule with some payments as low as $5.  The Panel, along with the Prowers County Commissioners, has attempted to resolve this on-going issue.  Panel President, Pat Palmer, recently spoke with state representative Wes McKinley about the situation.  Palmer said he learned of a state-level, problem-solving committee who investigates and resolves various situations that are placed before state organizations.  McKinley said he would learn more about the committee for future contact. 

The panel discussed options for a low-cost means of regular distribution of tourism based brochures and related literature throughout the county.  Palmer said there is plenty of source material, but the display racks at various businesses throughout Prowers County can run empty and need to be restocked.  Some suggestions included employing local Boy or Girl Scout organizations, but any payment would have to be made as a donation to the organization.  The panel’s by-laws do not allow any hired staff to be paid from the motel tax collections. 

During their work session, panel members reviewed the need for organizations to provide written documentation on the success of their local event.  A specific follow-up report is required, on the number of motel rooms that were directly attributable to the event sponsored by a group receiving lodging tax funds.  Those forms are available for any organization that appears before the panel with their marketing plan.   Panel secretary, Carla Scranton, will develop a spreadsheet that documents past funding, used either for marketing events or for contract fees, if the requesting party was local or from out of the area, and the nature of the event that received funding.  The panel is working to develop a maximum return on investment from the funding, drawing in visitors who will spend the night at a motel in Lamar as opposed to day visitors. The Lodging Tax Panel will review the information at their next meeting, the third Tuesday of each month at the PCDI offices, downtown Lamar.  Organizations planning to request advertising funds for their local tourism generating event can call 719-336-2384.

By Russ Baldwin


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