November 7, 2012 | LXXII, No. 32

Cities spending on tourism promotion

The three municipalities that collect hotel/motel taxes have a combined total of $434,000 in reserve, even after spending over $100,000 this year to promote tourism through a variety of ways.

Electric City is sitting on $197,000, Grand Coulee about $96,000 and Coulee Dam, $141,250.

The funds, collected from customers staying in motel rooms and at campgrounds, by state law must be used for the promotion of tourism.

The city of Electric City takes in about $65,000 a year from tourism taxes paid by Sunbanks Lake Resort, Coulee Playland and Sky Deck Motel.

In turn Electric City spent about $30,000 of that tourism fund. The city advertised through the Grand Coulee Dam Area Chamber of Commerce, supported the Coulee Area Park and Recreation District for North Dam Park and Event Center, and helped the Ridge Riders with rodeos.

By city ordinance, Electric City budgets half of its motel/hotel tax intake for next year’s budget with the other half going into a reserve fund. The city indicated that it is budgeting $30,000 for expenditures next year.

Coulee Dam has a similar ordinance, taking in about $40,000 in taxes per year. Coulee Dam collects its tourism dollars from Coulee House Inn & Suites and Columbia River Inn.

This year the town spent about $48,000 in tourism dollars. Coulee Dam contributed $4,000 to the chamber of commerce, $4,000 to the Ridge Riders, $11,000 to the park district for North Dam Park. It also spent $14,500 on live music for the July 4 festival and $13,000 to carve two large tree stumps in Mason City Memorial Park into wildlife sculptures.

Officials at Grand Coulee stated that they expect about $13,000 in hotel/motel tax revenues this year and that of the $26,000 budget for disbursement this year, the city has spent $23,459. Its funds were spent with the park district, the chamber and the Ridge Riders.

None of the three municipalities have indicated that they have large projects for which they are saving.

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