Tourism association plans changes to funding

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The Moffat County Tourism Association is making funding changes to a number of the events and services it has sponsored in the past.

Director Shelly Flannery said that during a joint meeting between the MCTA board and the Craig Chamber of Commerce board of directors Wednesday, a decrease of funding in certain areas was discussed.

"We met to discuss funding for the Chamber in 2007," Flannery said. "We are looking at the needs and abilities of each organization. We're refocusing our funding."

The county's tourism association, which was without a full-time director until Flannery's hiring in June, funds or contributes to local events, such as Grand Olde West Days, Moffat County Fair, Mud Madness, Sheep Wagon Days and Ride-N-Tie Rodeo.

The association also helps to fund the Craig Visitors Center in the Chamber office, 360 E. Victory Way.

Chamber Executive Director Christina Currie is worried about what the loss of funding will do to the visitors center.

"Last year, we looked into the cost of running the visitors center and found that it was eating into the Chamber's operations more than we could afford," Currie said. "We asked the MCTA to increase their funding."

Instead of an increase, the MCTA offered substantially less than it gave to the visitors center annually for the past three years, Currie said.

"At the current funding, we don't have enough to keep the visitors center open five days a week," she said. "We may have to close it down one day a week."

Flannery said the offer made by the association was an initial offer and that the association board is looking at its budget to see whether it can designate more money for the center.

"If the lodging tax brings in more revenue than we budgeted for, that will be one of the first areas we add to," Flannery said.

Flannery said the association board members think the visitors center and the services it provides are vital. But MCTA will not use as many of the Chamber's resources after its office moves to Museum of Northwest Colorado.

She also explained that because of MCTA's fundraising cycle, financial results might take more than a year to show.

MCTA vice-chairwoman Tammie Thompson-Booker said the association budgets conservatively because tax checks come in about six months after the money is raised by the lodging tax.

"The visitors center is important, and we're committed to provide some funding to the Chamber," Thompson-Booker said. "Our mission is to serve everybody in Moffat County."

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