Split Glenwood council rejects tourism fund redistribution
GLENWOOD SPRINGS, Colorado – A city budget resolution that would have taken additional money out of the city’s tourism marketing fund and put it toward special events promotion was voted down by the Glenwood Springs City Council Thursday.
As a result of a negative balance carryover from 2009 in the city’s accommodations tax fund, and a continuing drop in tax revenues so far this year, the city only had $30,000 to put toward tourism promotion grants this year, compared to about $100,000 in past years.
That money already went to promote the inaugural Oyster Off Road Challenge adventure race in May, Mayor Bruce Christensen said.
A proposed resolution on the council’s table Thursday would have redistributed the current accommodations tax funds to allow for the continued funding of grant requests this year. In doing so, however, it would have reduced the Glenwood Chamber Resort Association’s marketing and tourism promotion budget.
The intent was to decrease both budgets in increments equal to the decrease in tax receipts. However, after hearing from the chamber’s interim tourism marketing director, Lindsey Lewis, council, on the 3-3 vote with Councilman Dave Sturges absent, rejected the measure.
“This keeps the funding in place as it is,” Lewis said after the meeting. “If this had passed, we would have been looking at a 20 percent hit to our marketing budget.”
The tourism marketing program is currently entitled to about $546,000, however funding the program to that level left no money in the grant fund for such things as Summer of Jazz, the downtown market and other community events that also have a tourist draw, Christensen said.
“We’ve typically jointly funded those kinds of things out of the tourism promotion fund and the health/human services and arts fund,” he said. “But, there’s no more tourism grant money available this year.”
Christensen said the matter likely will come up again, but with a proposal that doesn’t impact marketing efforts as much.
Also of concern, according to a memo from City Attorney Jan Shute, is that the proposed resolution did not address the ongoing problem of creating a marketing contract based on anticipated revenues rather than actual revenues.
Options, according to Shute, may be to:
• issue the marketing contract based upon the prior year’s receipts;
• create a lag time, where the contract is issued bi-annually and based upon the previous six month receipts; or,
• to issue an annual contract that re-evaluates the contract amount in the middle of the year based upon tax revenues received to date.
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