Special meeting to be held on rental fees
October 13, 2021
The Tucumcari Lodgers Tax Advisory Board on Wednesday scheduled a work session for 10 a.m. Oct. 27 at city hall to make a final recommendation on higher user fees for the Tucumcari Convention Center.
During the board’s previous meeting in September, Chairman Matt Bednorz recommended higher rental fees for the facility, noting Tucumcari’s was considerably cheaper than similar facilities in Santa Rosa and Clovis.
Booking the facility for a wedding is $400. Rates at the Tucumcari Convention Center have not changed since 2015.
“I think that’s a steal,” Bednorz said Wednesday.
Bednorz previously suggested raising the rates to $600 for weddings and commercial events from $500 to $800.
During Wednesday’s meeting, he offhandedly suggested $1,000 for weddings and $1,500 for commercial events to use the entire facility after hearing a ballpark estimate of the center’s daily costs.
City Manager Mark Martinez cautioned against steep hikes that would lead to “sticker shock” for potential customers.
“I agree the price needs to go up, but we need all the information before we make a decision,” Martinez said.
Martinez also recommended a deposit for future convention center customers and a hike in the $75 fee for the Del Norte Center.
Martinez suggested a work session so he and other city officials could have time to gather more accurate information on the center’s daily costs. City liaison Todd Duplantis agreed, saying the board needs “an honest business assessment” before making a proposal to the city commission, which has the final say.
Duplantis previously suggested graduated fees for how space of the convention center would be used and fees for certain services.
In other business:
• The board briefly convened for a special videoconference meeting Sunday afternoon to recommend the use of $1,500 in lodgers tax funds to pay for a special free concert at 6 p.m. Oct. 13 at the Tucumcari Railroad Plaza.
Tucumcari MainStreet Executive Director Connie Loveland said during the regular board meeting Wednesday that National Park Radio, a folk-rock duo, had just offered a show in Tucumcari deeply discounted from their usual fee of $5,000. The duo had wanted to book another concert on the way to another show in California.
The complication was the concert wasn’t on the board’s agenda as an action item for its meeting Wednesday. Even if the board had issued a vocal recommendation to use the funds, the city commission wouldn’t meet until Oct. 14 to decide on it.
Loveland offered to have Tucumcari MainStreet pay National Park Radio’s fee, then have lodgers tax funds reimburse the nonprofit organization later. She said MainStreet’s board of directors endorsed booking the concert.
Martinez recommended a special videoconference meeting Sunday afternoon so the board would meet its legally required 72-hour notification.
Bednorz suggested forming a $10,000 lodgers tax fund so it could more easily pay for such last-minute bookings.
• Ken Peterson, the creator of the “Bands of Enchantment” television show, told the board by videoconference Wednesday his production company would not make a decision on whether it would shoot its second season in Tucumcari until late October.
Peterson’s Elkhorn Entertainment last month requested $300,000 in lodgers tax funds to help offset production costs in Tucumcari, where its second season would be shot early next year.
City officials, while enthusiastic about the show’s production values, initially blanched at the funding request. It would represent almost half of the lodgers tax fund’s annual budget.
Peterson said Wednesday he would meet this week with officials of the New Mexico Film Commission, which offers tax credits to television and film productions shot in the state, and expressed optimism about other funding sources, including sponsorships. He said he needed “more time to crunch the numbers and make sure we can keep this in Tucumcari.”
• David Brenner, the owner of the Roadrunner Lodge Motel and a former board chairman, talked briefly about new Tucumcari resident Matt Monahan and his The Most Famous Artist art collective. Monahan plans to add more murals and sculptures in Tucumcari. Brenner also is collaborating with Monahan about setting up short-term housing for artists relocating to the city.
Brenner and Loveland also mentioned a recent tour bus operator who took customers to the city’s museums. Brenner, noting at least two more tour buses will arrive next year, said he wants “to build on that success” and “make it a favorite spot on Route 66” for such operators.
Loveland and Tucumcari/Quay County Chamber of Commerce director Scott Crotzer will meet Oct. 15 at the chamber office to discuss putting together packages for tour bus operators.
• Robyne Beaubien, the city’s tourism marketer, talked about advertisement purchases with Texas Monthly and ROUTE magazines and another publication based in Amarillo. She said social media buys would begin soon, though they mostly would be concentrated for the spring.
She said she soon would edit copy for the city’s forthcoming visitors guide and anticipated a rough draft of the publication by January.