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The Salmon City Council has approved four funding recommendations made by the Local Option Tax Commission.

Two thousand dollars were approved to help fund this year’s Heritage Days event which is being combined with Agai Dika Days and will take place August 17 and 18. In presenting the request to the commission, Sacajawea Center Director Judy Barkley explained that combining the events will reduce costs and possibly increase attendance which she said was good at last year’s Heritage Days. The $2,000 request is 40 percent of the event expenses and is the same amount requested and awarded last year. The council unanimously approved the request.

The Salmon Valley Community Swimming Pool is designated as a Local Option Tax funding recipient in the ordinance which created LOT. Estimated pool expenses for materials and repair services, a slide, diving board, lifeguard chair repairs, a pool cover and roller, facility floor resurfacing and making improvements to the hot water system for the ladies changing room came in at $9,864.62. It was explained the exact cost for floor resurfacing is unknown pending official estimates and may be treated as a separate expense depending on the final amount. The LOT commission recommended $10,000 be awarded and the council unanimously agreed.

The Idaho Outfitters and Guides Association (IOGA) was awarded $1,100 for music, meals and marketing of its Outfitters Rendezvous. The event features a gear swap, live auction and a wolf howling contest. It is scheduled in conjunction with the Salmon Select Horse Sale and extends that event by one visitor night. Councilman Jim Bockelman is Chairman of the LOT Commission and in presenting the request to the council said it is well known what the IOGA does for Salmon in terms of bringing much needed revenue to the area. The council unanimously agreed to both what the association does for the community and to the request. The $1,100 amounts to 29 percent of Rendezvous expenses.

The LOT Commission recommended $3,800 be given to the Salmon Whitewater Park Association’s third annual Salmon Riverfest fund raising event. The group requested $4,370 however the commission scaled it down to $3,800 to be used for rental of the Odd Fellows Hall and the Town Square Pavilion plus securing the band and advertising the event. Bockelman said from 250 to 300 people are expected with up to 100 of them coming from out of town to hear the band which is popular in Idaho Falls, Pocatello, Missoula and Boise. Festivities will be taking place June 7 and 8 in the Town Square Park and in the Salmon River off Island Park. The amount requested is 65 percent of overall expenses. The council vote to approve the funding was five to one with Jim Kluesner casting the ‘no’ vote.

A funding request from the Lemhi County Fair Board has brought up questions as to whether or not there are some organizations that should be ineligible for funding. Even though the money would go to the Rodeo portion of the Lemhi County Fair, Kluesner said the county is required by law to provide an annual fair and should be paying the expenses. Bockelman said according to a legal opinion by City Attorney Fred Snook the Fair Board is like any other organization and therefore eligible to make a request since the LOT ordinance does not limit who can submit a request. It only specifies how the money can be spent. He said the one provision is that the monies are for public events only.

Kim Olson of the Rodeo Committee explained the request is not actually for the Fair Board it is for the Rodeo Committee which is appointed by the Fair Board. In reading the application directions the committee felt the request should be listed as being from the non-profit status Fair Board. Bockelman later said to his knowledge there is no requirement regarding not-for--profit status.

Olson explained the committee wants to make some big changes to the Rodeo and basically take advantage of an opportunity to restructure it into a much larger event with visitors staying two to three nights instead of just one. She said now that Idaho has lost the professional Pocatello Western Frontier Rodeo the door is open for expanding local events and directing more rodeo participants and fans to Salmon. She said she would welcome the opportunity to give the council a full presentation of the committee’s plans.

In answer to a question from Councilman Jim Baker, Olson said the county has provided money for dedicated capital improvements at the Fair Grounds facility itself. No requests have been made of the county for specific Rodeo funding.

Bockelman said the LOT Commission’s only guideline is the LOT Ordinance. It does not specify only new requests, old requests, middle-of-the-road requests…it says “special events.” He said if the council wants to make added requirements it should be done by way of official resolution. He added that additional clarifications would be a help to the volunteer commission. Bockelman said the commission knew there would be questions with what came as a request from the Fair Board which is why it sent it to the council for debate before spending time on discussions and a recommendation.

Councilman Fred Waidely said he wouldn’t want to see the LOT funding become exclusionary and it is the council’s prerogative to make decisions as to what to approve and not approve. Baker wants to see the guidelines fine-tuned whether by resolution or changing the ordinance. Councilman Jesse Bender agreed with establishing consistency and pointed out the Local Option Tax funding awards program is still an evolving process and that fine-tuning would help the commission make decisions.

The purpose of placing the Fair Board/Rodeo request on the council agenda was for discussion only and will be decided at a later date.

The LOT funding approvals were given at the council’s April 3 meeting.

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