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Local Option Tax Commission Chairman Jim Bockelman presented the organization’s financial figures for the month of February at the April 20th meeting of the Salmon City Council.

LOT revenue for February was $2,494 which brought the year-to-date revenue total to $18,852. That month’s expenditures totaled $5,800 with $2,800 going to the Whitewater Riding Association and $3,000 to the Salmon Soccer Association. Year to date expenditures for LOT amounted to $39,075. In his report Bockelman mentioned a revenue balance carried over from 2010.

Earlier in the evening the City Council held a public hearing to open the 2010 LOT budget. During the hearing City Finance Director Amy Fealko explained the hearing’s purpose was to amend LOT Annual Appropriations Ordinance 10-763 in order to accommodate last year’s unspent funds which amounted to $29,460.87.

She said the excess funds occurred as a matter of timing. The commission had approved allocation of some funds in September but the required final approval by the City Council did not occur until October. The fiscal year ends on September 30 so the allocation/approval process crossed the fiscal year line. The allocations made in 2010 were not expended and ended up in the 2011 budget. It was necessary to open the LOT budget so the adjustments could be reflected and opening a budget requires a public hearing.

Fealko said if the budget were not opened and amended the excess funds from 2010 would not be available for 2011 expenditures and would just continue to build.

During the hearing one patron spoke in favor of making the funds available for expenditure. There were no neutral or negative comments offered and the hearing was closed. When the council meeting arrived at the point on the agenda which called for a decision on the ordinance amendment, the council vote to amend Ordinance 10-763 to Ordinance 11-773 was unanimous.

With official release of the $29,460.87 for 2011 expenditures, LOT’s fund balance at the end of February was $9,238.

In March the City Council turned down a commission recommendation to allocate $895 for the revival of a bicycle event called the Century Ride. Bockelman said some commission members discussed reasons stated by the council when the request was denied and pointed out that not all LOT funding would result in “heads-in-the-beds” overnight accommodations. A suggestion was made that the event be rescheduled to avoid Father’s Day Car Show conflicts. It was also recommended that the funding request be resubmitted after this year’s ride has proven the value of the event. Bockelman stated he thought the council was a bit short sighted in not approving the relatively small request and said the event did fit in the Recreational Opportunities category of the Local Option Tax mission statement.

Earlier this year LOT had approved up to $780 to be used by the Salmon Realtors for purchase of Main Street banners. The total bill for banners was around $600 so that is what LOT will provide.

A Policies and Procedures Manual for LOT was discussed at length during the commission’s March meeting. A revised manual will be presented during its April meeting. Another topic on this month’s meeting will be a progress report from the Salmon Valley Chamber of Commerce and Kayak Park representatives. The report will include how funds allocated to the Chamber and the kayak project are being spent.

The April LOT meeting will take place April 26th beginning at 5:30PM in the Salmon Valley Center meeting room. The meetings are open to the public. Those requesting LOT funds should allow at least two months for the request to be processed. Request forms are available at City Hall.

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