Bed tax, Elks restoration on Chamber agenda

Through the efforts of the Chamber, Prescott Area Lodging Association, Prescott Area Arts and Humanities Council, Prescott Area Coalition for Tourism and others, a consensus has been reached in raising the existing transient lodging tax (bed tax). Although the groups had proposed a doubling of the tax, last-minute opposition from a half-dozen hotels that collect the tax caused the Council to refer a compromise increase to the voters. If passed, the bed tax will increase from 2 to 3 percent. No compromise is perfect, but this will still increase funding for tourism promotion and major events. Few, if any, local citizens pay this tax; it is only collected by hotels, motels and B&Bs in the city of Prescott. The bed tax was first collected in 1988 following voter approval.

Historically, the City has provided about half of the bed tax revenue to the Prescott Area Coalition for Tourism to promote the Prescott area. The significant increase in bed tax over the past eight years has been attributed, in part, to PACT's efforts. The other half has been used for tourism-related activities, such as capital needs for parks and recreation, the Rodeo, arts and humanities grants and the Courthouse lighting in December. If voters approve the bed tax increase, each of the existing groups and organizations would continue to receive funds based on a new distribution schedule that was agreed to by all organizations prior to having the City Council refer this to the ballot. Prescott's total tax rate for hotels will rank about in the middle of rates in other Arizona cities and towns.

CHAMBER WILL MATCH DONATIONS FOR ELKS

RESTORATION

One future tourism icon

will be the fully restored Elks Opera House. Local businesses are being asked to help finance the next round of restoration projects for the Elks Opera House Theater, and the Chamber has announced a matching grant program to bring more attention to the project. Donations from local businesses will be matched dollar-for-dollar by the Chamber, up to a maximum contribution of $5,000. Contributions can be made to the Elks Opera House Foundation and will be used to help restore the box seat area, chandelier, and seating, to mention a few.

In presenting the matching grant proposal to the Foundation, the Chamber noted the important role that the Elks Opera House has played in the history of our community. The Chamber has been part of that history. For example, the Chamber was credited with bringing the world's greatest contralto at the time (1921), Madame Ernestine Schumann-Heink, to Prescott for a special performance at the Elks Opera House.

BUSY WEB SITE The Chamber's Web site, www.prescott.org,

had a busy first half of 2007, with an average monthly count of 17,092 visitors. June was particularly busy as 22,395 visitors used the Web-site for relocation and visitor information. The Chamber's community calendar of events and online membership directory are popular features, too. The site now features a voters' guide for the upcoming city election.

WELCOME NEW MEMBERS

The Chamber has added a number of new members in the last month. We welcome Aces Pottery Paintin' Place; Advanced Imprints; Alpine Ventures; Brignall Construction; Bucky's Bean Bag; Casa Bonita; Citrus Valley Playhouse; Desert Classic Realty & Lending; Ed Moser; Feather Mountain Stables; Health, Wealth & Integrity; Investment Potential; Iron Springs Opera; Jazzy's Wine Bar; Johnie B; Leukemia & Lymphoma Society; Mind 2 Media; Mountain Air Cleaners; Pampered Chef/Kim Colbert; Paramount Window Corp.; Prescott Realty; Prudential Foothills Real Estate/Steve Irwin; Roman Ristorante; Southwest Legal Support Services; Sparkletts Bottled Waters; Staltari Electrical Services; Teapot Inn Bed & Breakfast and Yavapai Consultation & Healing.