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At its December 15th meeting, the Salmon City Council approved a total of $15,000 in Local Option Tax monies for the Salmon Valley Chamber of Commerce. Ten thousand will go into an integrated “Stay and Play” advertising campaign plan that includes magazine and newspaper ads, billboards and brochures aimed at promoting reasons to visit this community. Thirty five hundred dollars will go towards a continuation of flower filled hanging baskets along Main Street and $1,500 will go towards professional promotion of Heritage Days.

Prior to the approval Chamber President Cori Allen gave council members a detailed packet of materials describing how the money would be spent if approved. Print advertising will be expanded to include the Idaho Travel Guide as well as establishing a greater presence on the internet by way of ads placed on Google and Facebook. Each Internet ad would link to the Chamber’s web site. Allen said the Internet response could also be used to track reasons why people are interested in the area.

Some of the LOT funding would be used to facilitate a presentation to the Idaho Travel Commission. A proposed concept called “The River to the Moon Challenge” will be the subject of the presentation. Allen said the event would be open to any mode of transportation that can make the trip from the Salmon River to the Craters of the Moon National Park. There would be many challenges for each driver to meet along the way and as each challenge is met it would be posted on a web site thereby causing some Internet buzz about Salmon. Allen said that having LOT money to use will show a Chamber partnership when the idea is presented next May as an Idaho Travel Council grant proposal. Each grant applicant competes for a share of a statewide two percent lodging tax.

The council vote to approve $10,000 towards the Salmon Valley Chamber of Commerce marketing plan was four to one with Jim Kluesner voting against it based on his belief that the Chamber has other funding resources available.

The Chamber will use the $1,500 in Heritage Days funding to promote that event through development and placement of advertising. The LOT money will not be needed until February or March. The council vote to approve the funding was unanimous.

Allen said last year’s hanging of flower baskets along Main Street drew many compliments from locals as well as from out of town guests and proved to be a definite downtown beautification success. It also showed how few Main Street businesses have outdoor water spigots and proved how much work it took to keep the baskets in full bloom.

The Chamber proposed to use the $3,500 in LOT funding to purchase a fertilizer and garden wagon plus a 26 gallon portable water tank, pump, battery and telescoping wand attachment. It also proposes to hire a person or persons for a few hours per day, seven day a week, to fill the job of tending the baskets. Allen said the baskets were donated last year by SD’s Green Thumb Nursery which will do so again this year. She said with the part time seasonal help, the flower program can be extended with an offer of watering and fertilizing services to any Main Street business between Kings and the Main Street Bridge that wishes to set out tubs or pots of flowers. The flower basket project is viewed as city promotion and development and the council vote to fund it was unanimous. Those funds will be made available in May.

In his Local Option Tax Commission report, Commission Chairman Jim Bockelman updated the City Council on LOT finances to date.

He said LOT revenue gathered during October, the first month of this fiscal year, was $6800. Expenses for October amounted to $17,980 with $14,980 going to the Whitewater Kayak Park project and $3,000 to the Hockey Association. The current LOT Fund balance is $11,160.

Bockelman stated that approximately $18,000 of the first year’s Option Tax income was spent on the pool and that $10,000 has been budgeted for the pool in 2011. He said in its first season of operation close to one third of the $60,000 generated from the Option Tax went to the swimming pool.

During the council’s Roundtable discussion Councilman Ron Radford said he thought the LOT money being allocated is great and Councilman Bud Bartlett complimented the LOT commission on the good job it has been doing.

When the LOT Commission was established two of its commissioners were appointed to serve for one year and those terms are ending. The two were Nick Bertram and Buddy Jones and each has stated they do not wish to continue. The council appointed Chuck Bender of Bender Distributing and Barbara Doty of the Salmon River Motel to be new members of the commission.

The Local Option Tax Commission meets the fourth Tuesday of each month at 5:30 PM in the Salmon Valley Center Meeting Room. Members of the public are welcome to attend. It is suggested that applications for any funding requests be submitted at least two months before the money is needed to allow time for processing.

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