Prowers Lodging Panel Tables All Requests

Prowers County Courthouse

Members of the Prowers County Lodging Tax Panel tabled action on the five requests on the agenda for their monthly meeting, February 21 at the PCDI offices in Lamar. Only representatives for the Lamar Days Festivities were on hand to make their presentation; Ron Cook for the annual Rod Run Car Show, Toni McPherson for the Wild West BBQ Contest and Denise Carder, representing the Lamar Chamber for the May events sponsored by that organization. Those three events requested $2,000 apiece, the same as last year’s contribution made by the Lodging Tax Panel, to help market and advertise the events. Pat Palmer, Panel President said he’d prefer to delay a vote on the funding request until the rules and regulations pertaining to various forms of cooking safeguards had been addressed at the February 23 Prowers County Commissioner’s meeting. Necessary forms, permits, licenses and cooking regulations will be discussed, covering a host of activities when food is prepared and sold.

Funding for a welcome sign in Granada, the Colorado Jr. Rodeo, Colorado State High School Rodeo/All Stars Team and the Holly Bluegrass Festival was put on hold pending additional information from in-person representatives from those organizations. Palmer did some quick mathematics and determined that all the requests amounted to around $40,000, close to half the annual budget of the Lodging Tax Panel. Later in the meeting, Palmer discussed with members, a formula which would establish guidelines on how to fund events, based on the number of visitors they brought to Prowers County for an overnight stay in motels, the basic criteria needed to be considered for funding. The Panel continued their ongoing discussion of just how to keep an accurate record of how many overnight visitors an event produces for the county. Panel members base their decisions to fund an event on the number of visitors an event organizer can verify. The other criteria also discussed was how the funding was applied. The Granada Welcome sign is a sticking point because a portion, or all of the sign could be a permanent fixture. Under the by-laws of the Panel, as mandated by the county commissioners and their auditor, the Panel cannot fund a capital investment item. To illustrate, funding could be available for advertising an event on a highway billboard, but not for the purchase of the billboard itself.

The Panel also discussed highlighting key events in the motel rooms in the county on a picture frame display stand. Cow Palace Inn manager and Panel member, Doug Thrall said most motels have repeat customers through the year, who, if they noticed an event that might interest them and their families, would make a return visit to attend. Another Panel member, Brad Semmens of Country Acres RV and Motel felt the Panel should consider becoming a marketing panel instead of a lodging tax group. This would have the panel operate under a more lenient form of by-laws, allowing the hiring of employees, a marketing manager and eliminating the restrictions on capital investments. To effect that change, the Panel would have to fund a ballot initiative, costing approximately $12,000.

The annual election of officers had little deviation from the previous year with Pat Palmer as president for another year, Myrna DuVall as vice-president, Judy Douglass as secretary and Brad Semmens as the new treasurer.

by Russ Baldwin

Filed Under: BusinessChamber/Local BusinessCommissionerscommunityCountyEconomyEntertainmentEventsFestivalGranadaHollyLamarRecreationTourism


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