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Members of the Local Option Tax Commission (LOT) were given a detailed explanation of a marketing recommendations report during a January 15 special meeting. The report was commissioned by the Lemhi County Economic Development Association and funded with LOT allocated monies.

LOT Commission Chairman, City Councilman Jim Bockelman, told the February 6 meeting of the City Council that LCEDA Executive Director Tammy Stringham had explained the report was targeted at tourism in the off season and winter months. Suggestions included; creation of a unified slogan for the area, a website focused towards the traveler, promotion of each season’s activities and putting together value packages. Bockelman quoted Stringham as saying the question is, “Who brings it all together?”

It was thought the process could start this winter by obtaining videos of winter activities and that perhaps work could begin on finding a unified ‘brand’ for the area as businesses are canvassed about possible support and funding help to develop a marketing plan.

Stringham explained how Idaho Travel Council tourism monies are distributed to various regions. Bockelman said the LOT Commission wants further information regarding accountability and effectiveness of the proposed marketing project. Stringham will arrange a meeting with representatives from the Idaho Travel Council and the marketing group that produced the report.

November Local Option Tax financials were reviewed during the commission’s regular monthly meeting held on January 22. Bockelman said in November the year-to-date total was $297 ahead of November 2011 figures and that total funds available through last November, after expenses and allocated funds, was approximately $28,800.

The commission decided to make the need to publically acknowledge LOT contributions part of the organization’s funding request form. Acknowledgement can be in the form of displaying LOT banners at events LOT funds helped to sponsor or in a published official ‘thank you.’

It was also decided that the board will require all future LOT funding requests to be typed rather than hand written and that an email address will be needed on request forms.

Bockelman said another thing that will be required of funding recipients will be a post event summary. It will be included with a funding reimbursement form already in place and become part of the funding request paperwork.

Looking towards the year ahead the Commission discussed establishing a yearly plan. He said the thought process is leaning towards trying to wean organizations from continual requests for the same events or projects and encouraging them to stand on their own, or at least be less reliant on LOT funding. Bockelman said the commission stopped short of setting a policy, feeling that as long as the funding is available and requests fall within the scope of the Local Option Tax Ordinance funding should be recommended, along with a special emphasis on helping new events be successful.

This month’s LOT meeting is set for Tuesday, February 26, at 5:30PM in the Salmon Valley Center meeting room and is open to the public.
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