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Three out of four requests for Local Option Tax (LOT) funds were approved at the March 16th meeting of the Salmon City Council.

LOT Commission Chairman Jim Bockelman presented the council with details of each request the commission had received. All four requests had been recommended by the commission however it is up to the City Council to make the final decision as to approval of funding allocations.

The three requests approved went to the Salmon Board of Realtors, the Salmon High School Rodeo Club and the Salmon Little League Baseball Association. A request for funding from the Lemhi Valley Century Bicycle Rides was denied.

The Salmon Board of Realtors was allocated up to $780 to be used to buy five more “Welcome to Salmon” banners. There are now ten banners for display along Main Street. The additional five will extend the line of banners to the west end of the bridge. Bockelman said the allocation will be placed under the category of City Development. The council vote of approval was four in favor, Jim Baker, Fred Waidely, Ken Gutzman and Jim Kluesner. Ron Radford cast the no vote.

LOT funds are not paid to an organization or project until the actual amount needed is known. An approval listed as ‘up to’ a certain amount puts a ceiling on how much the LOT Commission and City Council have approved for a particular project. It does not mean the full amount will be expended.

The council approved up to $1500 for the Salmon High School Rodeo Club to cover the expense of having an ambulance on-site every day during the three day event, as required. Bockelman said LOT granted the same maximum amount of money last year however, thanks to a generous discount given by the local ambulance service, only $252 was needed.

Bockelman said the District One High School Rodeo Finals have been held in Salmon since the 1950’s and the event brings over 200 visitors to the area for a three day stay. The rodeo finals are held at the end of May. The LOT funding allocation will be placed under the heading of Special Events. The council vote to approve the allocation was unanimous.

The Salmon Little League Baseball Association had requested $9700. The LOT Commission recommended an allocation of $3200 and the council unanimously agreed. Little League Baseball is a long time local program. Bockelman said around 600 people travel to the area every year for a two to three day visit while attending the Max Hemmert Invitational Tournament. The LOT funding assist will go towards tournament related equipment and expenses as well as to offset fees for a professional clinic.

A request for $895 was submitted by the Lemhi Valley Century Bicycle Rides to offset the cost of liability insurance and rider transportation for participants. The event features a 65 mile ride and a 100 mile ride. It was first organized in the mid 1980’s and continued to be held each year until the late 1990’s. Bockelman said the event was resurrected last year and had 47 participants including 12 riders from out of town. This year’s rides are scheduled to take place during the Father’s Day weekend and will be promoted on web sites and advertised in cities within a 250 mile radius. He said the riders usually spend two nights in Salmon. The cost of hosting the two rides is around $2800 and is a not for profit event. Bockelman said that with LOT funding support the rider’s entry fees could be reduced.

Mayor Leo Marshall said he was familiar with the event. “I’ve ridden that twice….made it once.”

Council comments, prior to its denial of the request, included a mention of only 12 out-of-town riders and no one even knowing it was taking place due to the Father’s Day Car Show. The council’s no votes were cast by Radford, Kluesner, Waidely and Gutzman. Baker voted in favor.

Local Option Tax funds are collected each month from overnight lodging establishments therefore funding amounts can be approximated but exact income is not known until received. As an extra safeguard the City Council passed a motion stating all council approvals are subject to the money becoming available.

The LOT Commission meets on the third Tuesday of every month at 5:30PM in the Salmon Valley Center meeting room.

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