Craig Chamber seeking to oversee county tourism funding | CraigDailyPress.com

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Craig Chamber seeking to oversee county tourism funding

If you go

Moffat County Tourism Association

special meeting

When: 3:30 p.m. today

Where: Basement conference room, Moffat County Courthouse, 221 W. Victory Way

Agenda:

• Introduction:

— Call to order/roll call

— Welcome guests

— Conflict of interest disclosure

• Discussion and action items:

— MCTA strategic direction and marketing/fund management with the Moffat County Commission.

• Public comments

• Adjournment

The next regular meeting is scheduled for 11:30 a.m. March 2.

In other news

At its regular meeting Tuesday, the Moffat County Commission:

• Approved, 3-0, Jan. 11 and Feb. 1 meeting minutes.

• Approved, 3-0, payment of special payroll warrants ending Feb. 5 totaling $14,234.24.

• Approved, 3-0, payment of payroll warrants totaling $383,927.98.

• Approved, 3-0, transfer of payment of warrants for the month of February totaling $196,897.58.

• Approved, 3-0, a five-year sand and gravel lease with Halbert Tuttle.

• Approved, 3-0, social services payroll and electronic transactions totaling $312,870.82.

• Approved, 3-0, resolution 2011-22 pursuant to Colorado House Bill 10-1117 allowing the Moffat County Commission to authorize the Moffat County Assessor to review petitions for abatement, refund and settle petitions under $10,000 without commission approval.

• Approved, 3-0, a bid recommendation for magnesium chloride for the road and bridge department with Desert Mountain Corporation at 61 cents per gallon.

• Approved, 2-1, a bid recommendation for a full-size crew cab truck for the Moffat County Sheriff’s Office with Transwest GMC totaling $19,288.

• Approved, 3-0, department of social services meeting minutes from December.

• Hosted a phone conference with State Sen. Jean White, R-Hayden.

• Heard a monthly report from the department of social services.

• Discussed snow removal requests for Moffat County roads 1 and 50.

The Craig Chamber of Commerce Board presented an idea Tuesday that could mark changes in the management of tourism funding in Moffat County.

At its regular Tuesday meeting, the Moffat County Commission heard a presentation from Chamber board member Gene Bilodeau asking the commission to allow the Chamber to oversee the county's 1.9-percent lodging tax.

Bilodeau also submitted a letter to the commission outlining the Chamber's goals and reasons for wanting to oversee the lodging tax fund currently managed by the Moffat County Tourism Association.

The proposal asks the commission to enter into a marketing agreement with the Chamber for two years so that "both entities can evaluate success and determine whether the model is desirable and sustainable."

"We would like to offer our services to the Moffat County Board of Commissioners in overseeing the lodging tax fund," the proposal reads. "The Chamber board of directors believes that in having this opportunity to serve the Moffat County Commissioners and residents, we could increase efficiency by avoiding a duplication of services and would align (the Moffat County) Visitor Center and marketing needs to the commissioners' goals."

The commission took no official action on the issue, but agreed to review the proposal and schedule a workshop with the Chamber to discuss the matter.

Bilodeau said the Chamber feels there are "untapped areas" in the community's promotion of tourism.

"We really believe there is a possibility here to not only take tourism, but the visitor center, to a place a lot of us from many different facets want it to be and believe it can be, which is a very solid force in the community and a very well-spoken group," he said. "We do believe it is almost unlimited what the visitor center and tourism can do in this community."

Bilodeau said the Chamber is also concerned about how many people want to be on the MCTA board, its longevity and cohesiveness.

"We are concerned about what appears to be the inability of the board to work really strong all together," Bilodeau said. "It seems like there is different directions that different groups want to go and not that that's negative, but ultimately you need to move together as a mass to get stuff done."

Bilodeau said the Chamber "fully understands" there would be "pockets of resistance" to the idea of changing the management of the county lodging tax.

Commissioner Tom Gray agreed, noting it would be a "big change in the way things have always been done in the past."

"That doesn't mean it is bad, it just means it would be a big change and a lot of people do resist change, you know, just because it is change," he said.

Gray asked about a note in the proposal that stated similar arrangements are common in other communities. Gray requested Bilodeau investigate how other communities have made such an agreement work.

However, Gray said approving the Chamber's request could, in effect, dissolve the current MCTA board, but noted the details are still unclear.

"By statute, we created the lodging tax and we have to have a board, so I would assume that we would then designate the Chamber board as the tourism board, but that is just speculation," he said.

The Chamber also outlined what the commission could expect if the proposal moves forward.

According to the proposal, the Chamber would meet with the commission annually to discuss goals and report plans, and quarterly to discuss progress and accomplishments.

The Chamber would also meet regularly with tourism-related business leaders to "solicit input on the community's marketing needs and opportunities."

Commissioner Tom Mathers said he felt the idea held merit.

"I, for one, really appreciate that the Chamber is looking at this," he said. "To me, it's change. And, we all know the last change that we had over the last years hasn't been a good change.

"But, I can see where this might be a good change. I'm optimistic that we can sit down and talk about this."

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