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Local Option Tax Commission Chairman Jim Bockelman distributed to members of the Salmon City Council copies of the local option tax ballot resolution which was voted into law.

The approved ordinance lists specific criteria as to how the generated tax monies are to be spent. The first priority listed was modernization and improvements for the Salmon Valley Community swimming pool. That was followed by city promotions and development, visitor information, special events, economic growth, marketing, advertising and recreational opportunities plus, any direct costs related to collection and enforcement of the tax. He said it is those criteria the commission uses to evaluate funding requests and make recommendations to the council.

Because the LOT is very new to this community there is a learning process involved as to legalities regarding possible conflicts with state laws therefore each request is reviewed by legal counsel before the commission makes its recommendation

On June 2nd the lack of a council motion stopped a commission recommendation to approve funds for the High School Golf Team. The financial assistance was targeted to help with expenditures during a local tournament the team hosted. The council’s lack of action on the recommendation was based on a legal counsel opinion/recommendation while Bockelman felt the tournament met all the listed ordinance guidelines in terms of a benefit to the community.

Bockelman is seeking specific legal statutes rather than opinions. He said the lead attorney for the Idaho Association of Cities told the commission it could only give LOT funds to 501 C3 status recipients. Bockelman said that cuts out just about everything on the local list. He wants to know if that is actual law or just an opinion.

The commission chairman said that when funding requests fail to gain an affirmative recommendation from City Attorney John McKinney the commission would like to see a ‘pursuant to such and such law’ attached to the funding denial advice.

Bockelman said state and federal laws obviously have to supersede city ordinances however since the resolution and ordinance clearly state how the money is to be used he’d like to be able to follow the criteria based on law rather than opinion.

McKinney was out of town that evening however the council members agreed specific laws should be listed.

Bockelman said that City Recreation Director Judy Barkley is working on setting up a meeting between the LOT Commission and the Idaho Association of Cities in hopes of finding answers to its many questions.

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