‘Tucumcari Tonite’ slogan to return to billboards

Chelle Delaney

“Tucumcari Tonite” will be returning to billboards advertising the city to motorists on Interstate 40 and U.S. 54.

For more than a year, billboards advertising the city have featured a silhouette of cowboys on horseback and the slogan “Gateway to the West.”
“We want to go back to ‘Tucumcari Tonite’ which is nationally recognized,” said Bill Kinder, owner of the Blue Swallow Motel and a member of the city’s Lodgers Tax Advisory Board.

The board agreed Tuesday to have four of the signs updated and plan to enter into contracts with billboard companies to have the billboard skins made and installed for a certain period of time.

In outlining board members emphasis for the new billboards, board chairman Diane Morency said the billboards will focus on the old slogan and Route 66 to draw in tourists.

As other billboard contracts expire, the board plans to reintroduce the old slogan, ‘Tucumcari Tonite.’

The cost of the four billboards will be about $4,000, Kinder said.

For the past three years, the 5 percent lodgers tax has generated an average of $474,000 for the fiscal year.

In 2007-2008, lodgers tax revenue is down to a projected $457,592 and is estimated to be at $460,00 for the 2008-2009 fiscal year, said Marty Garcia, the city’s finance director.

The lion’s share of the budget is allocated to operation and management, and to pay off a loan that was used to construct the Tucumcari Convention Center.

In the coming budget, it is proposed that $45,500 for lodgers tax revenue, in addition to an anticipated $17,000 contribution from the state’s Department of Tourism, will be spent on billboards to market Tucumcari to the traveling public.