Craig events get funding boost as LMD springs into action
Craig — As city and county revenues threaten to dry up, a new stream of economic development funding for Craig and Moffat County is just starting to flow from the newly formed Moffat County Local Marketing District.
The LMD board recently made its first funding decisions since the entity was approved by voters in November of 2015.
On Tuesday, the LMD board voted unanimously to fund the Moffat County Tourism Association with $20,000 for event marketing and to sponsor the September Rural Philanthropy Days event with a $5,000 contribution.
In its January meeting, the board also voted to provide $15,000 in matching funds for two economic development grants sought by the Craig/Moffat Economic Development Partnership, Craig Chamber of Commerce and other partners.
The recent decisions bring the LMD’s current funding commitments for 2017 to $40,000. With a $250,000 budget for this year, the board is working quickly to streamline a process for funding requests and to define its own funding priorities.
“This first quarter is about… looking at where our energy is best spent. We will start to have a clearly defined vision and know where to best allocate resources by next quarter,” said LMD Board Vice President Kirstie McPherson.
In the LMD’s operating plan, the board allocated:
• 50 percent of its funds to business recruitment and development,
• 15 percent towards organization, promotion and marketing of public events,
• 15 percent towards tourism promotion, and
• 20 percent towards a part-time administrative assistant and other paid services.
The LMD is funded by a 4-percent lodging tax throughout Moffat County. Statutorily, the funds must be used for promoting tourism, supporting business recruitment, management and development and organizing public events.
The $20,000 allocated to MCTA will more than double its current $15,000 budget to fund public event promotion.
MCTA already has five event promotion funding requests under consideration, and voted in its regular meeting Wednesday to allocate $7,000 to the Moffat County Balloon Festival, $5,000 to Grand Olde West Days and $3,000 to the Bear River Young Life Car Show. MCTA intends to focus on regional and out-of-area marketing this year. It is also considering funds for Whittle the Wood and a new motocross event.
“These local events with local people are the ignition we need to bring people in from surrounding areas and out of state,” said MCTA Director Tom Kleinshnitz at the LMD meeting. “If we can get people here for events, they’ll look around and say, ‘We want to come back.’”
A learn-by-doing methodology was on display Friday at the Loudy-Simpson Park pond as Moffat County High School science students learned quickly whether or not they had a future in engineering.