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The first fiscal year of the Local Option Tax program has ended and results show more revenue than anticipated.

The tax went into effect January 1, 2010 so the first fiscal year of the program was only nine months long. LOT Commission Chairman Jim Bockelman told the November 3rd meeting of the Salmon City Council that the original income estimate was $52,000. He said that by the end of September the actual Year to Date fiscal-year income was $60,458.09.

Septemberís LOT income was $8,676.87 and total fiscal year expenses totaled $23,711.68.

The LOT income comes from a voter initiated ordinance which authorized a four percent tax be added to hotel, motel and campground lodging rentals. The tax generated income goes to the LOT Commission for the purpose of benefiting the community.

Considering the source of the funds Bockelman said it is assumed that most of the $60,458.09 came from non-locals. Some of the projects and events that received LOT monies this year included the community swimming pool, Salmon River Days, Blues-Brews and Barbecue, Salmon Hockey, Salmon Adult Co-Ed Softball, Salmon High School District Rodeo and Golf Tournaments, the Salmon Marathon, the Salmon Gun Show, and seed money for the proposed Salmon Whitewater Kayak Park. Bockelman said the commission hopes to be working with the Salmon Valley Chamber of Commerce to greatly improve the visibility of the city and surrounding attractions by way of out-of-area advertisements and marketing.

The LOT Commission has a Public Comment period on its meeting agenda. During the October meetingís comment period Annette Ungaretti of the Recorder Herald posed questions related to an article on which she is working. Bockelman said the discussion prompted by her questions went past the intended purpose of the comment period and as a result she has been given an official slot on the commissionís November agenda.

Procedurally it has been decided that the LOT commissionís official funding recommendations will be given a separate entry on the City Council meeting agenda instead of being included in the monthly report. Requests recommended by the commission go before the City Council for final approval. Paper work on the funding requests to be presented will be given to City Attorney John McKinney for review prior to the council meetings.

During the November 3rd meeting the council approved funding for development of a LOT Commission Policies and Procedures Manual. The expenditure will be $900 and the manual must be completed by January 31st.

As the first year of the LOT Commission ends there will be openings on the board and the search for new members has begun. Anyone interested in serving should contact a commission member.

The November meeting of the LOT Commission will take place on the 23rd in the Salmon Valley Center meeting room. Bockelman advised that those wishing to apply for funding should allow at least two months for processing. The funding request forms are available at City Hall. Commission meetings are open to the public.

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