Lodging Panel Funds Okotoberfest Car Show/Rod Run

The Prowers County Lodging Tax Panel approved a $1,000 funding request from Ron and Lana Cook for a Car Show/Poker Run during this year’s Oktoberfest in Lamar.  The money will be used to advertise the car show for regional participants and the registration proceeds from the event will be donated to the annual, local Toys for Tots holiday campaign.  This was the only request on the panel’s monthly meeting agenda for Tuesday, July 17. 

The event is new territory for the Panel.  Although the Lamar Days Car Show event brings in close to 100 entries, the Oktoberfest will be a similar event on a different date.  Lana Cook told the Panel that half their 600 person mailing list is outside the local area, so there’s a good chance that the event will bring persons who will use local motels when they attend.   It’s just not known how many persons and vehicles will respond. 

New events are being sought by the Lodging Tax Panel.  Panel President, Pat Palmer, has discussed different ways in which the public can be made aware that the tax funding is available to new, tourist-related ventures along with regular mainstays.  Panel member, Doug Thrall, suggested using the internet to search out groups who hold conventions and see if their themes would be a fit to the Prowers County area.  Some ideas included pottery painters or wildlife groups or other organizations which would be prone to saving their own funding setting a convention where the overhead is considerably lower than major cities. 

The monthly Panel financial report showed the Babe Ruth 18 & Under group reimbursed the panel $550 as one of the scheduled teams did not take part in the weekend tournament.  Sixty-two rooms were rented out over the weekend, and the High School Rodeo All-Star teams rented 35 rooms for their two night contest earlier in the summer.  The Panel received a lodging tax reimbursement of $7.66 from the state for a quarterly payment which had no attribution as to how that figure was derived.  Carla Scranton, Panel secretary, said they received about $11,000 in tax revenues the month before.  The ‘mystery money’ has baffled panel members for several years, as they haven’t been able to receive a satisfactory answer from the state, despite repeated requests. 

Another financial matter will receive future discussion.  Commissioner Joe Marble, the county liaison to the Panel, said a recent county audit recommended the panel maintain a $40,000 contingency fund.  As it is almost half the annual tax revenue the panel has to work with, there was some question among panel members as to how that figure was reached, and if mandated in the panel by-laws, it could be altered to a more workable figure.  Palmer reiterated a statement he made earlier that, “Our goal is to be able to use these funds to generate tourist related activities, not to build up a big account balance.”  He said the panel stays up to date on their funding sources and requests to make sure they don’t go beyond the scope of their account.

By Russ Baldwin  


Filed Under: BusinessChamber/Local BusinessCommissionerscommunityCountyEconomyEntertainmentFeaturedFestivalLamarRecreationTourism


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