Commission overturns MCTA decision

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Also at the meeting

At its regular Tuesday meeting, the Moffat County Commission:

• Approved, 3-0, Oct. 19 meeting minutes.

• Approved, 3-0, a contract amendment with the Colorado Department of Local Affairs for capital improvement revenue and expenditure allocations totaling $479,263.

• Approved, 3-0, a transfer of intergovernmental funds for November from the general fund to the capital projects fund totaling $4,680.

• Approved, 3-0, a petition for abatement of taxes from Hugh Stanley Turner totaling $1,286.70 for 2008 and $1,535.07 for 2009.

• Approved, 3-0, a personnel requisition for the Moffat County Tourism Association for a part-time, temporary office assistant to work a total of 80 hours.

• Approved, 3-0, signing a letter drafted by the Moffat County Land Use Board to governor-elect John Hickenlooper.

• Hosted a 2011 budget public hearing with budget analyst Tinneal Gerber.

The Moffat County Commission unanimously voted Tuesday to overturn a recent decision made by the Moffat County Tourism Association Board.

At its regular Tuesday meeting, the commission approved, 3-0, to reverse MCTA’s decision to give 30 days notice to cancel a memorandum of understanding with the Craig Chamber of Commerce on Dec. 1 concerning funding for the Moffat County Visitor Center.

The commission also approved funding for the visitor center totaling $27,068.83 for 2011 operations.

The commission addressed the matter for more than a half-hour to a room full of MCTA and Chamber of Commerce board members. The discussion centered on MCTA’s funding of the visitor center and talks of moving the MCTA director’s office from the Museum of Northwest Colorado to the Chamber building.

MCTA’s decision to give 30 days notice to the Chamber came during a Nov. 10 meeting and included a similar decision with the museum concerning MCTA’s office space lease.

MCTA director Marilynn Hill said the MCTA board’s actions were to “open lines of communication, to not limit funding and to follow the current MOU and stay in compliance.”

Chamber executive director Christina Oxley asked the commission to consider overturning MCTA’s decision and award the visitor center funding, considering the action “puts the visitor center in a very awkward position, budgetarily.”

Craig Daily Press Publisher and MCTA board member Bryce Jacobson said he felt the commission’s role should not be to “manage those decisions and overturn” actions from county boards.

“You have appointed a board to make decisions,” he said. “If those don’t please the rest of the community, I understand that is going to be hard sometimes and sometimes you are going to hear those complaints.”

Oxley disagreed.

“Unfortunately, in this situation, this discussion about housing the director, the MCTA board was told several months ago we were open to that discussion,” she said. “Unfortunately, instead of being approached on a professional level at a board meeting or through a phone call or saying, ‘We would like to reopen this discussion,’ the MOU was taken off the table in an effort, it feels like, to force us to have that discussion and force us to come to an agreement before the funding is reinstated through the MOU.”

Hill responded to Oxley and said the action may look “like MCTA is being mean spirited, but it’s not.”

“It was very much put forth (that) this is to continue the conversation and to try to kind of jump start (it),” she said.

Commissioner Tom Mathers, who made the motion to overturn MCTA’s decision, said the MOU wasn’t created to “force anybody to do anything.”

“That is what it kind of looks like,” he said. “Like you are saying ‘we are going to pull the money if you don’t allow us to come back to the Chamber and put an office in there.”

Commissioner Tom Gray said negotiations between the Chamber and MCTA should continue regarding office space at the Chamber building, but the existing MOU should stay in place until an agreement is reached.

“It think it provides a good value and a positive example of working together, and I am for keeping it in place,” he said.

Jacobson asked several questions throughout the meeting about what the motion made by Mathers means for both organizations in the future.

Gray said the commission is not voting to rewrite the MOU to prevent an organization from giving the 30 days withdrawal notice in the future, but rather stop MCTA from currently taking such an action.

“So, next week we can?” Jac-

obson said of giving notice to cancel the MOU.

Gray responded by saying MCTA could do so, “but you better not.”

“Or what?” Jacobson said.

In response, Gray said MCTA board members could be removed or changed at the commission’s discretion.

“I’m not speaking for this board, but I’m saying it’s pretty plain what our intent is,” Gray said. “We want you guys to work together. If you are going to vote next week to get out of the MOU, then I would have to seriously look at whether our board is acting on our behalf.”

Comments

justthefacts 3 years, 9 months ago

Fact: As we come out of the 7th inning stretch the score is now Moffat County Commissioners 1, The MCTA 0.

The benificary of tonight's raffle is The Craig Chamber of Commerce. Kids can meet the mascot at the top of the field, I expect the Commissioner and his daughter to partake since they are both in attendance

Enjoy the game!!!!

Just The Facts how the game is played at Moffat County

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lonelyone 3 years, 9 months ago

In other words, you better do things as Mr. Gray wants or else you are down the road?? Ha, that should make people want to jump on board these committees!! I think because of the issue, Mr Mather's should have excused himself from this vote, because you know he's going to side with his daughter.

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Colette Erickson 3 years, 9 months ago

Well, clearly the unanimous vote would still have been unanimous, even had Mathers had the common sense to recuse himself, based on his conflict of interest.

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lonelyone 3 years, 9 months ago

that may be true, but people wouldn't say that he voted this way because of his daughter!!

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MoCo4life 3 years, 9 months ago

I'm sure no one would say the commissioners voted the way they did to help the visitor center. The story says the tourism board wasn't going to pay their part until they got what they wanted. I think Gray's tactics were the same as the tourism boards. Sounds like what comes around goes around. The tourism board uses that fund to feel powerful. About time someone put them in their place. Taxpayer - How does the public lose?

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Taxpayer 3 years, 9 months ago

The public loses when there isn’t open dialogue on issues. For example, why is MCTA spending so much of their budget on consultants and a director who appears unable to get the work completed in a timely manner? Where are the transparency and accountability, responsibility, and creditability of the some members of the Board? Why is there always a problem whenever the MCTA Board asks the Chamber Director how the Lodging Tax dollars are spent in the Visitor Center?

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grumpy 3 years, 9 months ago

Watch your LOCAL paper...you can see the lodging tax's out of area advertising $$$ at work for MCTA and now advertising for the four board openings. YOU could be wearing, what only a year ago, was one of the most sought after "jerseys" in the game. The only requirements for the positions seem to be a willingness to go along with what the commissioners and chamber request and don't ask questions. Accountability for this government board is not a top ten concern. Promoting the county outside of the city limits seems to actually be even lower on the task list. Why fight cancellation of the MOU when it could force the expansion that only a short time ago seemed to be the biggest concern for how they could ALL fit into the current chamber building. "The commission also approved funding for the visitor center totaling $27,068.83 for 2011 operations." Maybe they could get some straight answers as to HOW those dollars are spent. "Hill responded to Oxley and said the action may look “like MCTA is being mean spirited, but it’s not.” More like we are impotent and arrogant. Don't you wish YOU could be in the next round of board turn overs, you won't even have to worry about any conflicts of interest you may have with the board or the $$ they spend!

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justthefacts 3 years, 9 months ago

Riddle me this Batman: When is a person like a piece of wood?? A: When he is a Ruler.

Fact: Our local politicians think that they are rulers!!! The Craig City Council and Mayor does not want listen to the people,the County Commissioners appoint boards and override them, all the while micromanaging every other department in the county.

What next? The new Coroner will tell you that you can't die because it will interfere with his golf game????

Now that I think of it, that one is OK!!!!!!

Just The woody Facts

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unbelievable6060 3 years, 9 months ago

Once again I am reading these posts and sitting here shaking my head. Does anyone ever stop to think the reasons the Board of County Commissioners overrode MCTA's decision on the MOU agreement with the Craig Chamber is because it was what was best for the Moffat County Visitors Center? When I vote for my city and county officials, I vote for them because I believe they will make the best decisions for the area I live in. Do any of you have any idea how many visitors the Visitors Center/Craig Chamber services on an annual basis? I believe all of your comments are just opinions once again and isn't based on the actual facts.

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Taxpayer 3 years, 9 months ago

We would love to know how many visitors receive services on an annual basis -- MCTA would probably like that also, but somehow that information is pulled out of a hat like a rabbit. And when will the community realize that they are being sold a bill of goods.

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ChristinaOxley 3 years, 9 months ago

Grumpy and Taxpayer, It's always exciting to me when people take interest in the Chamber and Moffat County Visitor Center. We're very proud of both and work very hard to ensure we provide a consistently high level of service. We do our best to track visitor numbers, cross-referencing personal counts with an automatic door counter. We also track the number of phone calls we receive and their general topic, as well as the number of items we mail, to who and why. These numbers are presented each month to the Chamber board and MCTA gets a month-by-month spreadsheet each year.
I can tell you that the Moffat County Visitor Center serves approximately 14,000 people over the phone and in person each year and I can tell you that our postage costs for mailing information to potential visitors is approximately $3,000. Each year the Chamber presents a line item budget for visitor center operations to MCTA. MCTA and the Chamber are extremely accountable for how those dollars are being spent. Each MCTA board member knows exactly how many lodging tax dollars are being spent on postage, printing, office supplies - every single expense the visitor center has. I'm disappointed that there are people who will judge a situation they don't have the facts about - particularly when the facts are so accessible. I attended two public MCTA meetings, met with the MCTA director and answered a written list of questions about visitor center funding. There was never any problem explaining how those dollars are being spent. The beneficiary is the Moffat County Visitor Center, arguably the most consistent and strongest asset Moffat County has in its efforts to draw and serve tourists. No lodging tax dollars are used for member services. You will have to ask MCTA board members their reasons for voting to dissolve the MOU, but the bottom line is that, without that funding, services and hours at the visitor center are severely impacted and that does not benefit Moffat County tourism in any way. I am always available to discuss the Chamber or the visitor center or to update anyone on the number of people we serve. Contact me any time at (970) 824-5689 if you have questions, comments or suggestions.

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Taxpayer 3 years, 8 months ago

Looks like the director pulled the white rabbit out of the top hat again. What a Magician! Perhaps next year, MCTA would receive a complete package with all the documentation to back up those numbers? Nah, easier to pull the numbers out of that top hat again! Worked in 2010 didn’t it!

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