By Steve Hansen
QCS Managing Editor
The Tucumcari/Quay County Chamber of Commerce Thursday received $54,000 in lodger’s tax money for 2014-2015 advertising and promotional activities in a unanimous Tucumcari City Commission vote.
The commission also unanimously approved the following lodger’s tax allocations:
• Tucumcari Alumni Association for costs associated with the Rattler Reunion, $7,840
• Tucumcari MainStreet for Fired Up! event activities, $3,500
• Rockabilly on the Route to compensate for costs above original allocation, $2,600.
The lodger’s tax, which is paid through motels and other hospitality businesses, raises about $300,000 per year for the city. It is divided between an executive fund that helps to administer facilities like the Tucumcari Convention Center, and a promotional fund that assists with activities designed to promote the city to tourists.
Chamber Executive Director Patsy Gresham said the chamber intends to use its allocation to increase advertising of the New Mexico Route 66 Museum in the city in Route 66-oriented publications and websites, and the city’s growing railroad museum in its restored train depot in railroad enthusiast media.
This year, she said, the chamber also intends to paint Route 66 logos in traffic lanes along the city’s Historic Route 66 Boulevard and to cover the city’s murals with a transparent protective coating to preserve them.
A request for $18,000 in lodger’s tax executive fund proceeds in addition to the $36,000 the chamber sought in promotional fund money will be used to cover administrative expenses, Gresham said, including about $9,000 to cover about a third of Gresham’s salary.
“We spend 65 to 75 percent of our budget on promotional activities for the city,” Gresham said of the chamber, “and about that same amount of my time is spent on promotional activities that involve tourism.”