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Council votes for $78,000 lodging tax package

 


The Electric City Council passed tourism promotion funding package for local interests at its meeting Tuesday night.

There was money from the city’s lodging tax for new activities, but less money than the city had given the Grand Coulee Dam Area Chamber of Commerce in the past.

Through a number of proposals, the chamber received $16,500, down from almost $30,000 the year before.

The city council tourism committee, made up of councilmembers Richard McGuire and Brad Parrish, had proposed $12,000 to the chamber of commerce for fireworks on July 4, which the chamber had not requested.

The council finally decided after much discussion to do a 4-4-4 plan that would leave $4,000 for fireworks, $4,000 for Colorama advertising and $4,000 for the family fun bounce houses that were such a hit here this past spring.

Originally, the recommendations for spending the $71,000 in anticipated lodging tax funds left out Colorama entirely.

Councilmember Lonna Bussert, who was linked to the meeting for this one item by phone, pleaded with her fellow council members to do something for Colorama. Chamber Executive Director Peggy Nevsimal explained to the council how businesses benefit from Colorama and that it is the main traditional festival for which the area is noted.

An early motion to keep $8,000 for fireworks and provide $4,000 for Colorama advertising failed on a 3-2 vote, with Mayor John Nordine II not in favor. Councilmember Aaron Derr and Bussert had also voted against the measure.

That’s when the council finally went to work to try to correct what seemed obvious, a flaw in the plan.

Benefiting from Tuesday’s plan was the Banks Lake Golf Course, which got $14,000. The city was warm to a proposal from Port District 7, which owns the course, and voted $5,000 for advertising and $9,000 for maintenance of the grounds. The course showed a profit for the first time in three years.

Losing out was the Ridge Riders Saddle Club. That organization didn’t get any of the funds this year, because officials there did not complete the application for funding, according to City Clerk Jackie Perman.

Other parts of the proposal included the city itself, which will spend $1,500 for advertising; maintenance of North Dam Park, $6,000; Koulee Kids Festival, $500 for advertising, and $4,000 to the chamber for advertising its fall Harvest Festival.

The city also budgeted $40,000 from the fund for its “Ice Age Walking/Biking Trail and Park System.”

Councilmember Birdie Hensley was on vacation and excused by the council.

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