Moffat County Tourism Association to revisit 2013 budget

Funding for visitor centers debated by board, county, chamber

In other action...

During an early meeting Tuesday, the Moffat County Tourism Association Board:

• Heard follow-up presentation about Whittle the Wood.

• Heard follow-up presentation about Grand Olde West Days.

• Heard update on advertising in Craig Chamber of Commerce map.

• Discussed Tony Bohrer’s appointment to the MCTA board and heard 2012 term updates.

• Discussed AGS campground advertising opportunity.

• Discussed booth opportunity at Hunting & Fishing Outdoors Expo.

• Approved, 6-0, appropriating $627.95 for a booth at the Governor’s Tourism Conference in Steamboat Springs.

• Went into executive session to discuss personnel issues.

• Heard director’s report from Melody Villard.

Quotable

“The bottom line is we were appointed by the Moffat County Commission to take care of tourism and to work within our appropriated budget. If our mission is to fund the visitors centers at your behest, then tell us that. If the mission is to fund tourism in this county, then our priority is tourism, not visitors centers.”

Bryce Jacobson, MCTA chairman and editor/publisher of the Craig Daily Press

In July members of the Moffat County Tourism Association board began the process of compiling its 2013 budget.

With fewer funds in the county coffers than a year ago, MCTA was forced to scale back nearly all of its proposed 2013 expenses, including assistance money to the Dinosaur Welcome Center and the Craig Chamber of Commerce.

In 2012 MCTA budgeted $31,200 and $9,000 for the Craig Chamber and the Dinosaur Welcome Center, respectively. This year MCTA proposed a reduction to $19,170 to the chamber and $5,000 to the Dinosaur Welcome Center.

Upon receiving the draft budget, the Moffat County Commissioners said they would prefer to see MCTA maintain visitor center funding at 2012 levels.

On Tuesday the MCTA board discussed whether to send their budget back to the county as written — and run the risk of the commissioners changing it, or revise the budget in an attempt to come up with a compromise.

Moffat County Commissioner Tom Gray attended Tuesday’s MCTA meeting, as did Craig Chamber of Commerce director Christina Oxley.

Bryce Jacobson, MCTA chairman and the editor/publisher of the Craig Daily Press, voiced his frustration with the process charging the commissioners with placing politics above the MCTA’s mission to boost tourism.

“I don’t think we should make budgets for the MCTA based off politics and that’s what the commissioners are playing,” Jacobson said. “What I believe is we should make our budget match our money and our strategy.”

But Gray dismissed the allegation, saying it was of the commissioner’s collective opinion to protect the integrity of a recently signed memorandum of understanding between MCTA and the Craig chamber.

“I’m making it about an MOU that was signed in a small community trying to get two entities, both concerned about tourism, to try to work together,” Gray said.

Jacobson countered by pointing out the MOU, as written, states MCTA will contribute funds to the Chamber and the Dinosaur Welcome Center based on “availability,” not a previously set amount or a guaranteed percentage of MCTA’s funds.

“The bottom line is we were appointed by the Moffat County Commission to take care of tourism and to work within our appropriated budget,” Jacobson said. “If our mission is to fund the visitors centers at your behest, then tell us that. If the mission is to fund tourism in this county, then our priority is tourism, not visitors centers.”

Rather than “stick to their guns” to prove a point, the MCTA board voted unanimously to revisit their budget.

A workshop will be held later this month.

Joe Moylan can be reached at 875-1794 or jmoylan@craigdailypress.com.

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