Tax board reviews funding proposals
The Carbon County Tourism Tax Advisory Board met to take action for the first time on applications for project funding last Wednesday.
In the March 25 meeting, the panel recommended that the county commission approve $62,567 for the applications.
The board reviewed 14 applications during the five and one-half hour session. Last Wednesday was the first time the panel, created from the restaurant tax and tourism travel boards, was able to deal with funding of projects and events.
The first meeting of the board took place in January when administrative and organizational issues were discussed concerning the structure and the responsibilities of the panel.
In the past, the two former boards handled the money generated by tourism taxes that had been placed on restaurants and lodging facilities a decade ago.
The tourism board handled the transient room tax that was collected at lodging facilities in the county.
The other board handled requests for money generated in the tourism, recreation, cultural and convention tax fund, better known as the restaurant tax.
However, some of the restaurant tax money had been also given to the travel board by the county commission to use for various projects that applications came in for.
At the time, the restaurant tax board was advisory only, while the travel panel gave approvals and forwarded that information to the commission.
The recently merged board is a recommendation body and the final decision on any monies disbursed must have final approval by the county commissioners.
The applications before the tourism advisory board for money read like a who's who of events and venues in the county.
The board dealt with the issues by having a presentation by the groups requesting the funds. Following the presentations, deliberations took place concerning the money requested by the applicants.
The board also had to deal with several legal questions that assistant county attorney Christian Bryner brought to the table at the start of the meeting.
The issues dealt with the board's by-laws and the question of whether funds can be used to support private as well as governmental entities.
"My research indicates we can support private entities that are involved in these kinds of activities," said Bryner. "The money is not restricted to governmental or public entities only."
The research answered a key question because several requests before the board were for private projects.
These are the projects approved by the board and an explanation of them.
â¢Patrick Braun presented a proposal for the Rock and Mineral Show at College of Eastern Utah in June.
He said the money would be used for outside advertising to bring more people into the area as well as for some signage advertising the event.
He requested $3,500 and the board approved the funds, based on the fact that the show has been successful in the past and Braun had provided documentation on where the funds were spent for previous shows.
â¢Allison Sundahl of CEU Prehistoric Museum made a presentation asking for money to do some changes on the billboards located at the mouth of Spanish Fork Canyon and east of Price on U.S. Highway 6.
She also asked the board to help with the costs of installing a new billboard in Fruita, Colo., to advertise the museum on Interstate 70. She requested $9,385, and the board recommended the museum be given $5,450 for the projects.
However, the board requested that the museum reconsider the plans for the billboard in Colorado and possibly move it into Utah.
â¢Chanel Atwood from the Castle Country Regional Information Center requested $17,000 for operations of the facility.
The information center is a partnership with a number of different federal, state and local agencies that exist in the area and it provides guidance and tourism information to visitors to the area. The center is located in the lobby of the CEU museum. The board recommended that the commission approve the entire amount with $13,500 coming from the TRCC and $3500 coming from the TRT.
â¢Steve Christensen of Carbon County Recreation presented a proposal for a fall Castle Country Bike Fest and asked for $4,117 to get it started.
The event would be staged north of Price on the trails that exist in the area. The money would be used for advertising to get out of the area bikers to come into Carbon County. Christensen said he hopes to grow this into an annual event so that people will not always bypass Price to go to Moab to mountain bike.
â¢Tom King of the Carbon County Country Club and Golf Course made a presentation requesting $10,000 for the Black Diamond tournament. The board recommended the tournament get $5,000.
â¢Andy Urbanik from the East Carbon City Council made a proposal concerning Community Daze. He said the town wants to make the event into one that will draw more people from outside the area than in the past.
He requested $10,000 for advertising the event and the car show. The board recommended $8,000 with the stipulation that the town shows the money was used for promotion of the event.
â¢Larry Ganzer, Helper city councilman, represented the Helper Art and Music Festival's request for $12,500. The board recommended the entire amount for the event.
â¢Jared Haddock made a presentation concerning the Little Grand Canyon Marathon. Last year's event was successful with more than 300 people in attendance. Thirty percent to 40 percent of the people were from out of state.
Haddock said he expects 600 people to come to the 2009 event. He requested $3,600 for advertising. There was some concern from the board because the event is in Emery County. But Haddock explained that almost all the people involved in the event stay in Price area lodging and spend money in Carbon County. He also pointed out that a number of the people who came to the event stayed multiple days. Two families even stayed two weeks. The board granted him the funds, and he was asked to present documentation as to how the money is spent.
â¢The Scofield Triathlon is now a dozen years old and Burke Priest along with event director Brogg Sterrett made a presentation concerning the July 18 event. The triathlon has grown tremendously the last three years and the half Iron Man Competition will be presented for the second time in conjunction with the regular 2009 triathlon. The promoters expect about 650 people this year. They were requesting $10,000 for promotion; the board recommended $5,000.
There were also a number of projects tabled or turned down for funds. Price City requested $10,000 for the Bryner Museum, but since the foundation that wants to put the museum together neither owns the house nor the property, board members were reluctant to put money into it at this time.
Also, Lloyd Logan from the CEU Prehistoric Museum made a presentation to the board concerning the purchase and operation of a Broncosaur at various venues the museum travels to promote the facility and the area. The machine would be similar to a mechanical bucking bull, but would look like a dinosaur. Logan maintained that use of the machine at the state fair, expositions and other places the museum staff goes to promote the museum would put the area in the minds of people after they left the event and bring them to eastern Utah as tourists. The board, while recognizing the advertising value of the idea, had some reservations concerning insurance issues and asked that the museum come back to request funds when that issue is cleared up.
The board also did not recommend funds for the CEU Evolutionary Gardens, the Black Diamond Rodeo nor the Sunnyside Rodeo.