Commission reviews Restaurant Tax recommendations
Each year the Carbon County Tax Advisory Board that makes recommendations on where Restaurant Tax collections are spent submits a list of organizations and events to the Carbon County Commission for approval. This year that list, to be approved for funding in 2014, consisted of 30 applicants.
On Dec. 4 that list was presented to the commission by Shalee Johansen, the county's director of tourism, at the regular meeting of the commission.
"These are the groups the advisory board is recommending money for," said Johansen. "We didn't fund them all and now the advisory board is out of money."
The money that is collected from the special restaurant tax as well as lodging fees are down in the area this year. That gave the board less money to work with.
Some of the money approved goes directly to the tourism department for expenses they will incur. This year the department will be printing a magazine to send out to prospective visitors and to give to those who do come to the area. That amount was listed at $6,000, which is way below the $15,000 requested.
Other recommendations on the list included:
Battle of the States Mud Drags, $6,000 and another $2,000 should the funds become available.
Castle Country Trail System map project, $3,000
Finishline Promotions (Motocross events), $4,000
Desert Thunder Raceway, $6,000
Robbers Roost Team Roping, $4,000
USWRCA Central Region Show (rodeo). 1,000
Black Diamond Golf Tournament, $4,500
Carbon County EMS Symposium, $1,500
Demolition Derby, $1,000
Mammoth Marathons, $1,500
Down and Dirty Fun Run, $1,000
Helper Arts and Music Festival, $4,000
Black Diamond Rodeo, $500
Women's OHV Challenge, $200
Utah State Sniper Shoot, $1,000
Utah's Christmas Town Festival and Parade, $200
Texaco Country Showdown, $400
Helper Outlaw Car Show, $200
Castle Gate Posse, $700
Groups who requested money and was not awarded any include the Carbon County Fair, the International Days Celebration, the Miniature Horse Show, the Taste of Home Cooking School, the Mike Ballard Golf Tournament, the Castle Country Quilters Show, and the Great Brain Society Convention.
A bit of a discussion ensued about how the money was being spent by different organizations.
The money that is awarded to the various groups is to be used primarily for advertising and promotion outside of the Castle Country area. Assistant County Attorney Christian Bryner pointed out that the money is controlled so that it is used appropriately.
"The money doesn't go directly to the entity that it was awarded to, but to the promotion efforts of the event."
The county tourism office provides for applicants a list of principles that the office follows for awarding the money each year. The main objective of providing the money is to get people from outside the area to come to the event. Then through promotion and through those that are hosting and running the event they are to urge people to stay in the area. They also want those running the programs to be sure they track where people come from and how many show up from outside Castle Country.
Immediately after the commission approved the list, they also took up the issue of whether they wanted to renew their contract with "County Seat," a program that appears on Salt Lake's Channel 4 each week discussing issues and the priorities of the various counties in the state. For the last three years Carbon County has invested $25,000 each year into the program.
Commissioner John Jones said that he felt the money spent for being on the program was well worth it.
The "County Seat" program generally displays the counties involved political views on such things as land use, energy development, water rights and other types of subjects. It also is largely about rural counties more than it is concerned with the metropolitan areas of the state.
However there was some opposition to the idea when Johansen stood up and suggested that the money might be better spent promoting the area in other places, such as on "At Your Leisure.," a program that primarily promotes outdoor venues and tourism in the state.
"I think that having us on County Seat gets our views out to the public," said Jones.
All agreed that the two programs (both produced by Chad Booth) are very different from one another. Then they talked about the possibility of working with Booth to be on both programs