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At its September 7 meeting the Salmon City Council, following recommendations from the Local Option Tax Commission (LOT), approved four requests for LOT funding.

The Salmon River Baseball Association will receive $1500 to go towards needed wiring work and an electrical panel. LOT Commission Chairman Jim Bockelman said the association requested $12,660 for repairs and improvements to the baseball field including pathway reconstruction and safety netting, the scoreboard and snack shack wiring and electrical panel, three non-composite bats and coaching expenses. He said the associationís goal is to get the complex ready to host at least two multi-team tournaments per year which could result in from 30 to 40 people per tournament spending three nights in Salmon.

Bockelman said the pathway and safety netting are being required by the city and will be discussed separately. As to the other listed needs he said the association was encouraged to apply for LOT funding next year.

The LOT Commission recommended and the city agreed to award $1500 to Salmon Search and Rescue for its fund raising Luau on the River event held earlier this summer. The money will help to pay for the band and the statewide advertising which included some TV coverage. Bockelman reminded the council that Search and Rescue members provide all their essential services to the community on a strictly volunteer basis. He said the funds raised by the Luau event will go towards swift water rescue and wilderness rescue supplies and equipment plus some extrication equipment gear. The City Council unanimously accepted the commissionís $1500 recommendation.

Council approval also went to The Salmon River Rendezvous Mountain Men request for $850 to help fund the advertising, supplies and security involved with their participation in the Sacajawea Centerís Heritage Days event. Bockelman said the groupís presence added greatly to the Heritage Days atmosphere and that upwards of 100 visitors came for the rendezvous then stayed in Salmon from four to seven nights.

Councilman Bud Bartlett had high praise for the rendezvous and the contribution it made to Heritage Days.

The subject of how many visitors and nights spent brought up the fact there is currently no mechanism in place to accurately track the exact numbers of participants an event generates. Bockelman said the LOT Commission is working on finding a solution to that problem.

A newly introduced reimbursement form developed by City Finance Director Amy Fealko has been introduced into the request process. The Salmon Arts Council, for its Blues, Brews and Barbecue event, and the Salmon Hockey Association have been the first to use the forms which will now be required for all LOT funding requests.

The LOT Commission itself requested $300 to fund three two foot by four foot banners to promote LOT accomplishments. The banners will be displayed at future LOT funded events. The council approved the request.

LOTís fiscal year will end September 30. Bockelman estimates from nine to ten thousand dollars will be available for funding through this fiscal year. He said the total collected so far this year is $38,227. Comparing 2010 figures from January through June to the same months this year shows funds are down by about $3,600 or approximately 12 percent.

Bockelman reported that from its beginning in January of 2010 through June of this year the Local Option Tax has generated a total of $99,000. He said if current tax revenue trends continue the LOT could potentially contribute a minimum of $650,000 over a ten year time span. He said the banners will help let the community know how LOT funds are being spent.

There will be some changes implemented in LOTís third year. Bockelman said the City Council will be given the commissionís funding recommendations on a quarterly rather than monthly basis. He said the boardís consensus is, quarterly reports will allow commission members to get a better handle on available funds which in turn will better enable the commission to determine the best use of the money. The LOT meetings will continue to be held each month.

Local Option Tax Commission meetings are open to the public and members of the public are encouraged to attend. This monthís meeting will take place in the Salmon Valley Center meeting room on September 20 at 5:30PM.

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