Prowers Lodging Panel and Boy Scouts Teaming Up

The Lamar Boy Scout Troop 223 will team up with the Lodging Tax Panel to help distribute tourism brochures throughout the county.  Panel president Pat Palmer said he’s contacted Greg Ludwig, Boy Scout Leader, about using the youngsters to do the distribution footwork, periodically taking various brochures to area motels and other businesses to increase publicity about the area.

The Prowers County Fair Board reported a profit on the Sand and Sage Fair activities, including the Mark Willis concert.  The Lodging Panel contributed $13,000 in funding for that event and the board said revenues came in at $25,817.50 against expenditures of $21,952.51. 

Tourism numbers are up for southeastern Colorado.  Palmer reported that the Lamar Welcome Center posted a 17% gain on visitors over last summer and led the state welcome centers in visitors, based on increased percentages. 

Although there was no motion made, there was discussion on the level of funding the Panel might contribute to SECORHT next year.  Southeast Colorado Regional Heritage Tourism helps organize and publicize events and tourist sites in the state and has requested an annual contribution of $10,000 from the Prowers Lodging Tax Panel for the past several years.   While the panel recognized that other, smaller population based counties could not fund to that level, board member Ruthie Esgar suggested that tourism organizations in Otero County could increase their funding to SECORHT as they also benefit from the organization’s activities, or have the Prowers Panel pledge to match Otero’s future contributions. 

Carla Scranton, Panel secretary presented a financial report on contributions received by the Panel since its inception in 2006.  Based on the 2% lodging tax levied on motel and hotel users in the county, the Panel received $400,349.29 between May of 2006 and September 2011.  Payments are received from the state on a quarterly schedule, with the highest payment to date of $32,064.26 made in November, 2010.  That month generally posts the highest figure as those taxes are based on revenues from the summer tourist season. 

By Russ Baldwin


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