Rec center funding
Moffat County Tourism Association board members said at Wednesday's meeting that although they support a community recreation center, they would not support a city lodging tax to pay for it.
At the Community Recreation Center Steering Committee meeting April 29, members of that group said a voter-approved city lodging tax could pay for the recreation center's construction, operation and maintenance costs.
MCTA board members were upset because Colorado laws do not allow a city and county to overlap lodging taxes, members said.
If the city tries to repeal the county lodging tax, which funds the MCTA, then the community would lose any ability to market itself, MCTA board member John Ponikvar said.
MCTA board members Cindy Looper and Frank Moe, as well as board president Tammie Thompson-Booker - who all own or operate local hotels - said they were unhappy that officials would discuss taxing their industry without consulting them.
Looper said she understood the lodging tax proposals were suggestions but that she thought MCTA should enter the discussion before talks get more serious.
The board plans to draft an official statement in regards to the matter at its next meeting, June 4.
Craig Two funding requests, two events funded.
The Moffat County Tourism Association board approved $4,000 for upcoming local events at its meeting Wednesday.
Moffat County Fairgrounds Manager Bill Sixkiller appeared at the board meeting to apply for $3,000 in funding for the 2008 National Pattern Horse Racing Championships, held July 19 to 26 at the fairgrounds.
The event has several kinds of races - such as barrel racing, for instance - and races for all age groups, as well, Sixkiller said.
However, Sixkiller said the National Saddle Clubs Association, which organizes the championships each year, probably would use the money to make awards for the contest and not spend it on advertising.
By county statute, advertising is the chief responsibility for lodging tax revenue, which makes up MCTA's budget.
Despite that, Sixkiller said he already signed a contract to provide the Saddle Clubs Association with $7,500 in money and in-kind services after former MCTA director Shelly Flannery led him to believe he could count on MCTA funding.
Sixkiller said Flannery spoke with him about the matter before she resigned in January.
MCTA board president Tammie Thompson-Booker made it clear that no one, including board members, could promise anything on behalf of MCTA before the board voted at a public meeting.
"Nobody can make promises on behalf of this board without this board's approval," she said. "It is illegal for us to do that."
However, board members agreed the event was big enough that MCTA should contribute money, even if it was not spent on advertising.
When Craig last hosted the event in 2005, about 400 to 500 people from outside Moffat County came to town, Sixkiller said.
"They've already brought people from outside into the community, and that's kind of our goal," board member Frank Moe said.
MCTA board member Melody Villard said she would hate to give the Saddle Clubs Association a reason to not return.
The board voted unanimously to take the $3,000 out of its tourism projects and development budget instead of event funding, which is meant solely for event advertising.
Thompson-Booker said MCTA could spend money on developing events and bringing them to Moffat County without budgeting it for advertising.
Sheep Wagon Days
Craig's 10th Annual Sheep Wagon Days, organized by Villard, received $1,000 to spend on out-of-area advertising.
Villard said she would use the money to spread posters and fliers from Vernal to Denver and north into Idaho. She also is looking to put a segment on Colorado & Company, a morning talk show on the Denver NBC affiliate.
Sheep Wagon Days celebrates the sheep industry's local history with events such as petting zoos, shearing demonstrations and the 66th Annual Craig Ram Sale; and also other attractions such as a farmers market, horse-drawn wagon rides, live music and a multicultural food festival.
The event is Oct. 2 to 5 at the Moffat County Fairgrounds. Visit www.villardranch.com/sheep_wagon_days for more information.
Collin Smith can be reached at 875-1794 or firstname.lastname@example.org