Prowers Lodging Tax Panel Tightens the Funding Belt


Lodging Tax Panel logo smlThe Prowers Lodging Tax Panel went into executive session during their April 21st meeting to discuss funding requests which are growing larger, as well as a means of developing an accountability of how some funds are being used.

Board members have expressed concerns over increasing costs associated with some repeat events, along with the continued issue of never being sure how much funding will come from the state based on the 2% use tax levied on motel rooms in the county.  Another concern is determining the return on investment, finding a means by which event organizers can show the panel the number of visitors who secured a motel room to attend an event.  First time events won’t be able to provide those figures and results on some repeat events are mixed at best.

Board members heard two presentations and requests for marketing funds during Tuesday’s monthly meeting; one for advertising for the annual Bluegrass Festival held in Holly each June and the other for marketing and contract fees for the LCC Antelope Stampede, held over three days in October.

Lodging Panel President, Pat Palmer, called the meeting into executive session following the presentations made by Marge Creech for the Festival and Fred Sherwood for the Stampede.  Usually, a determination for donations is made at the end of the meeting agenda.  There were four tabled applications for funds, carried over from previous meetings: The Lamar Fly In, Prairie Showdown, Cowboy Up at the Wagons and Colorado Junior Rodeo Association Finals.

Following the executive session, board members voted some limited funding for these events:  Fly In Lamar 2015 had requested $14,164 and will receive $2,164 for advertising.  The panel did not approve the $12,000 request to secure the appearance of four aerobatic performers for the September exhibition at the Lamar Municipal Airport.  The Colorado Junior Rodeo Association Finals set for August had requested $17,000 for contract fees.  They will receive $5,000.  Cowboy Up at the Wagons, an annual event held in Granada, had initially requested $3,800 for contract fees and will receive $3,000.  The first time Prairie Showdown event requested $2,500 for $1,000 in advertising and $1,500 for contract fees and will receive $2,000.  The Holly Bluegrass Festival requested $3,000 and is receiving $2,400 for advertising the annual event.  The board tabled the $9,200 request for the October LCC Antelope Stampede until later in the year, simply because of the gap before the event occurs.

The Lodging Panel’s balance sheet is still solvent, funding $14,500 in requests, while maintaining $11,000 on the books.  The panel also voted to increase their contingency fund by another $2,000 at the suggestion of member Jane Felter, bringing that total to $7,000.

Panel members intend to review their by-laws pertaining to funding applications.  Members have expressed concern about being able to fund future requests based on the dollar increase being sought and the fact that some requests are being made months in advance of the event.  Representatives of some events have explained that they need approval that far in advance to secure a performer’s contract while deferring the actual payment until later in the year.  In order to keep a rein on their balance sheet, past Panel discussions have mentioned putting a cap on the amount that will be given to future requests, determining if contract fees should be covered in funding requests and requesting documentation from all parties on how the funding has been applied, plus an accurate accounting for head and beds, the number of overnight visitors that attended an event.

By Russ Baldwin

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