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Tourism Tax board faces changes

Sun Advocate publisher

(This is the second in a series of articles outlining the boards and panels that aid in the operation of Carbon County government operations).

It wasn't too many years ago when the two tourist taxes that are assessed in Carbon County (Restaurant and the Lodging Tax) were evaluated and the spending of them was recommended to the Carbon County Commission by two different boards.

Today the entire process is undergoing change as Commissioner Jae Potter works with Jana Abrams, who has been the acting tourist bureau director for some time, to change how things are done and how the administration of those funds will take place in the future.

Today, only one board resides over both pools of money that are generated. It is the Carbon County Tourism Tax Advisory Board. In effect for a few years, this board looks at applications from area agencies and events and then has recommended those that they see as fitting the mission of the funds to the county commission for final approval.

But a change in the structure of the leadership in the next few weeks will change that.

Soon the county will be advertising for the position of a director that will oversee not only the committee and the Carbon County Tourism Bureau, but will also oversee operations at the North Springs Shooting Range, the Carbon County Fair Grounds and Events Center and the Castle Country Regional Information Center that is located in the USU Eastern Prehistoric Museum. That means for the first time all these recreation and tourist venues will fall under one department and one administrative person.

The present Carbon County Tourism Tax Board consists of seven members with an eighth spot vacant at present. Included on that board are Nick Tatton (Price Community Director), chair, Dan Allen, USU Eastern, co-chair and board members Rhonda Peterson (Carbon Fairgrounds manager), Dustin Wardle (manager of the Holiday Inn), Angie Johansen (Carbon County Airport), Christine Trease (USU Prehistoric Museum) and Rick Davis (Price City Council).

No one on this board is compensated for their time beyond their regular job titles.

In the past the board took applications for funds to be distributed quarterly, but with the reorganization, the applications will come in on a yearly basis and be budgeted for a year ahead of time. Presently it is projected that applications for funds for 2013 will need to be submitted in September of this year.

The funds will no longer have to be submitted to the county commission except that the new directors position will have to submit them as a line budget item for the next years operations.

The Castle Country Region Information Center is run by Allison Cox and in years past the operation was funded by a number of partners. Recently it came totally under control and the funding of Carbon County.

Abrams and Cox also participate in a regional tourism information board that consists of a number of members from eastern Utah on a regional basis. This group meets quarterly and consists of members from the Bureau of Land Management, the United States Forest Service, a member from the USU Prehistoric Museum, a representative from Price City, a representative from BEAR and a travel coordinator from the state. The examine regional concerns and plans concerning tourism and travel.

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