City may renew funds for Whiskey Off-Road

Council to vote on $30,000 annual contribution; may loosen rules on how it’s used

Men ride along Senator Highway during the Whiskey Off-Road Professional 50-mile bicycle race on Sunday, April 30, 2017.  (Les Stukenberg/Courier)

Men ride along Senator Highway during the Whiskey Off-Road Professional 50-mile bicycle race on Sunday, April 30, 2017. (Les Stukenberg/Courier)

The Whiskey Off-Road Mountain Bike event would continue to receive $30,000 annually from the city for the next three years under a contract amendment that the Prescott City Council will consider this week.

The contract change is one of a number of issues the council will consider during its voting session at 3 p.m. Tuesday, Feb. 13, at Prescott City Hall, 201 S. Cortez St.

A city memo states that the late-April mountain-biking race “has created a large economic benefit to the city” since its start, about 16 years ago.

The event has evolved over the years to include a community concert, expansion of ridership and attendance, and changes to the race route. “These changes necessitate additional adjustment to the existing contract that outlines roles and responsibilities of the city and Epic Rides (the race sponsor),” the memo adds.

According to Joe Baynes, director of Recreation Services, under the adjusted contract, the city would continue to pay $30,000 to Epic Rides, but would no longer require that $10,000 of that amount go toward the race’s cash purse. The change would allow for more flexibility, Baynes said.

The amended agreement would also allow Epic Rides to use the city’s Grace Sparkes Activity Center (old Armory) for storage, shipping, and receiving between March and May of each year.

City Community Outreach Manager John Heiney said the race continues to provide a significant financial return on investment for the city.

“The bottom line is; this event returns a great amount to the City of Prescott,” Heiney said, noting that the benefits include filled hotel rooms and media attention for the community.

The $30,000 annual contribution is paid from the city’s bed tax revenues, which comes from a tax on customers at hotels, motels and other short-term rentals.

Also on the agenda for Tuesday’s meeting, the council will:

• Consider a second renewal of the city’s economic development services contract with the Robb Group, LLC, for $52,000.

The contract dates back about a year, to when City Manager Michael Lamar opted not to fill the city’s economic-development director position following the departure of former director Jeff Burt, but, instead, to contract out the services.

The original contract with the Robb Group was for $44,000 for six months. In August, 2017, the city renewed the contract for another six months for $52,000.

The latest contract renewal would add another six months for $52,000 and would include consulting services for 20 hours per week, at $100 per hour.

A city memo stated that the Robb Group has worked on fostering economic development by bringing in technology conferences, CEO retreats, assisting business development and expansion, and beginning work on forming a technology incubation center.

• Conduct a study session at 2:30 p.m. to hear a budget report on the first half of the current fiscal year (through Dec. 31, 2017).

Although the council previously conducted regular study sessions at 1 p.m. Tuesday, Heiney said the new policy would be to have the “length of the study session determine the start time.”

The change is intended to eliminate the time gap that sometimes occurred between the study and voting sessions, he said.

Follow Cindy Barks on Twitter @Cindy_Barks. Reach her at 928-445-3333, ext. 2034, or cbarks@prescottaz.com.