Mike Crackel, left, and Tammie Thompson-Booker stand in front of the Moffat County Museum of Northwest Colorado following their election to vice-chair and chair of the Moffat County Tourism Association Board of Directors.

Photo by Collin Smith

Mike Crackel, left, and Tammie Thompson-Booker stand in front of the Moffat County Museum of Northwest Colorado following their election to vice-chair and chair of the Moffat County Tourism Association Board of Directors.

Lodging taxes sends MCTA revenue soaring

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Mike Crackel, left, and Tammie Thompson-Booker stand in front of the Moffat County Museum of Northwest Colorado following their election to vice-chair and chair of the Moffat County Tourism Association Board of Directors.

— Recent lodging taxes gave the Moffat County Tourism Association its highest revenue in the agency's history, which gives Tammie Thompson-Booker and Mike Crackel more revenue to work with in their new tenures as its Board of Directors chair and vice-chair, respectively.

The chair and vice-chair serve for one year, and started their terms Wednesday afternoon at the monthly MCTA Board meeting.

"I think we're heading in the right direction," Thompson-Booker said. "We need to keep our focus, hold our director accountable, hold ourselves accountable and make sure the community knows what we're doing."

In the first quarter of 2007, lodging taxes generated $31,508.90 in revenue for MCTA, compared to $18,287.51 in the first quarter of 2006. MCTA is on track to generate in excess of $20,000 more in 2007 than its record total of $120,019.36 in 2006, since the last two quarters are traditionally the highest grossing time of the year.

Board members agreed energy workers are the primary reason for the revenue increase. Some workers live in Craig's hotels and motels and pay the tax every night.

"It's the energy workers that gave us this money," Thompson-Booker said. "I know (hunters) spend a lot of money here, but those three to four weeks do not get us to where we are."

Board members discussed this interesting problem for MCTA, since energy workers will not always live in hotels year-round.

Although the board was pleased with the different community projects it has worked with and helped fund, some members were concerned the agency had not built a long-lasting tourism infrastructure.

"Nothing we have done this year has rebuilt (the MCTA general) fund in any way," Thompson-Booker said.

MCTA Executive Director Shelly Flannery agreed promoting longer events that encourage tourists to spend the night in Craig should be a focus in the future.

"The way you build Moffat County Tourism fund is overnight stays," Flannery said. "We don't have a restaurant tax, we don't get any sales tax, all we get is from lodging."

Flannery presented ideas to the board to broaden Moffat County's appeal across the state. In 2008, she hopes to assist with developing an agricultural easement of 5,000 acres west of town to include handicapped hunting excursions, trail horse events and winter sports.

In addition, Flannery plans to continue developing Dinosaur National Monument with Jeep tours, rafting, hike and bike trails and hang-gliding, for which there are two planned events in 2008.

Future marketing strategies are to develop relationships with tourism entities across the state, advertise in Yampa Valley Airport and work with surrounding areas to cross-promote one another.

MCTA, as a policy, holds revenue for a year, and so will spend 2007 taxes in 2008.

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