Prescott OKs bed tax allocations

PRESCOTT - After a two-week delay, the city's allocations for bed tax revenue got unanimous approval Tuesday, with little debate by Prescott City Council members.

In mid-August, the council delayed the matter to allow members to more thoroughly research the allocations and the recommendation process for the revenue that comes from a 3-percent tax on hotel and motel customers.

Councilman Charlie Arnold, who initially asked for the delay, said this week that he had since received all of the information he needed to make his decision.

"I received almost 1,000 pages of information," Arnold said before Tuesday's vote.

Despite his approval of the allocations, however, Arnold suggested that before going into next year's bed-tax- process, the city should reconsider its policy on contingencies and reserves.

This year's allocations include a total of $74,805 in contingencies - an amount that Arnold said "leaves too much flexibility."

But Councilman Steve Blair pointed out that expenditures of $10,000 or more still would have to go back to the council for approval.

Even so, Arnold objected to a system that he said would allow for seven separate expenditures of $10,000 - all without council approval.

Tourism Director Don Prince said the idea of the contingencies is to allow some of this year's bed tax money to carry over into the next fiscal year.

Ultimately, council members allocated $631,905 of bed tax money, following the recommendations that they earlier had received from the city's Tourism Advisory Committee.

The committee is made up of representatives from the lodging, and restaurant and bar industries, as well as the Prescott Chamber of Commerce, the Prescott Downtown Partnership, the Prescott Arts and Humanities Council, the Prescott Frontier Days Rodeo, area museums, and the city Parks and Recreation Department.

The allocations included five "signature events," which are getting about $41,000 of the bed tax money.

Those events include: the Whiskey Off-Road mountain biking event ($27,500); the Sixth Annual Prescott Pow Wow ($3,700); the Prescott Film Festival ($3,600); the Jazz Summit ($2,900); and the Outdoor Recreation Festival ($3,200).

In addition, a number of other community events/organizations will receive:

• City tourism marketing and promotion - $250,000.

• Recreation tourism amenities - $30,000.

• Courthouse Lighting - $30,000.

• Prescott Area Arts and Humanities Commission (support for the arts) - $30,000.

• Athletic tournaments promotion - $30,000.

Sharlot Hall Museum - $25,000.

• Prescott Frontier Days Rodeo - $20,000.

• Prescott Downtown Partnership contract - $20,000.

• Special events overtime - $20,000.

• Transfer to the downtown parking garage - $20,000.

Along with the signature events and other major contributions, the city is also considering smaller contributions to a number of other events, including:

• $2,600 to the Navajo Rug & Indian Arts Festival.

• $2,500 to the YMCA Whiskey Row Marathon.

• $2,400 to the Historic Prescott All Corvette Show.

• $2,100 to the Ninth Annual Prescott Highlands Games.

• $1,600 to the Phippen Museum of Western Art.

• $1,400 to the 32nd Annual Bluegrass Festival.

• $1,400 to the New Year's Eve Boot Drop.

• $1,400 to the Watson Lake Car Show.