Lodging Tax Panel Funds 2015 Summer Events


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The Prowers County Lodging Tax Panel approved $3,000 in marketing funds for Larry Coberly’s Monster Truck Show planned for next summer.  “I am planning on two shows this year and perhaps we’ll hold a lawn mower race.  I’ll have to give that some more thought before it’s going to be offered,” Coberly told the panel during their monthly meeting.  The event is set for June, 2015.

Brandon Sherwood and Cindy Bennett, representing the Sand and Sage Fair Board, requested $19,000 in contract and marketing fees for the annual Kick-Off Concert for the Sand and Sage Round-Up.  Sherwood said that he can’t disclose the names of the two performers at this point, but the Fair Board is hoping that a more ambitious approach to future headliners can drive more persons to attend the concert.  “We average about 750-800 persons for our performances,” Sherwood explained, adding that the Fair Board has planned concerts for the past six years.  The amount is the largest figure that has been requested of the Lodging Panel at one time.  Last year’s request from the Fair Board was $11,000.  The total cost of the concert, according to the Fair Board’s funding application, comes to $35,000.  Sherwood said, “We have to spend at least $8,000 every year on setting up and renting a stage, lights and a sound system.”

Panel member, Ruthie Esgar stated, “This request makes up one-quarter of our annual budget, and we have about 25 events that request funding through the year.  I really think we should see more people renting rooms in our town for this event.”  She noted that some of the college’s annual rodeos request less funding, but added, “They have every motel room in Lamar booked for their three day event, and you’re planning on one concert.”  Panel member Norma Dorenkamp remarked that southeast Colorado has never really been an area which has a big turnout for concerts.  Sherwood added that, “People will drive all the way to Pueblo and pay $25 for tickets at the state fair to attend a concert that’s on a par with the talent we book.”

Panel members expressed some concern that they are nearing the end of their annual budget and could not allocate funding they don’t have at the time.  The panel receives four large payments from the state, one per quarter, based on a 2% tax paid on motel rentals through the year.  “We should get another large payment later this month,” explained Carla Scranton, Panel secretary.

The Panel voted to split the funding with $12,000 allocated for 2014 and the balance for 2015, contingent on booking the proposed entertainers.  Bennett said the contracts have to be set as early as possible, and Sherwood added that payment to the performing acts isn’t required until the week of the concert.  “The earlier we can book the performers, usually means we can get their contract at a lower rate,” Bennett added.

Steam Engine Shows Signs of Wear from Earlier Repairs

Steam Engine Shows Signs of Wear from Earlier Repairs

County liaison to the Panel, Commissioner Wendy Buxton-Andrade suggested that some funding be used for on-going advertising of Prowers County events in cities such as Pueblo and Garden City.  Buxton-Andrade said the idea was discussed during a recent meeting held by the Lamar Chamber of Commerce and various retailers from the area.  Panel member, Brad Semmens stated that the funding could not be used to advertise for a business, but only for event that would bring visitors to the county who would stay overnight, basically for ‘heads on beds’.

Panel President, Pat Palmer, spoke briefly on a need to upgrade the exterior of the steam engine parked by the water tank and windmill at the Visitor’s Center and Chamber parking lot.  “About five or six years ago, we allowed some funding to paint and cover up the rust to the engine,” he stated.  That became a point of contention with the County on whether that funding was appropriate, as Lodging Panel funds are earmarked for marketing and contract fees, a point that hadn’t been stressed before they were used for the engine upgrades.  Nevertheless, it’s apparent that the engine is in dire need of repairs as paint is flecking off a polyurethane overlay that is also beginning to bubble.  The combination of train engine, water tank and windmill is one of the most often photographed sites by travelers along Highway 287.

By Russ Baldwin


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