Quay County Sun - Serving the High Plains

By Ron Warnick
QCS Senior Writer 

Lodgers tax board receives $117K in aid requests


March 23, 2022

The Tucumcari Lodgers Tax Advisory Board last week received more than $117,000 in aid requests from tourism entities or festival organizers for the 2023 fiscal year and heard pitches from two of them during a work session Wednesday.

Aid applications the board has received:

• $38,200 from the Tucumcari/Quay County Chamber of Commerce;

• $43,575 from the Tucumcari Historical Museum;

• $25,000 from the Rockin’ Route 66 festival;

• $9,000 from the Fired Up Festival by Tucumcari MainStreet;

• $2,000 from Down at the Depot events.

Tucumcari Rawhide Days several weeks ago received $13,000 in lodgers tax funds to help bring Texas Longhorns for the festival’s traditional cattle drive down Route 66. The event, scheduled for April 30 to May 2, also would use funds unused due to its cancellations in 2020 and 2021 due to the COVID-19 pandemic. Rawhide Days also lands on the 2022 fiscal year.

Chamber director Scott Crotzer, who is due to have a city events coordinator contract offered later this month, plans to organize the Wheels on Fire 100 bicycle race in October and a possible small revival of the Pinata Festival in May to replace the New Mexico Music Showcase.

The Rattler Reunion, which typically holds its Tucumcari High School alumni event in August, did not submit an application.

City finance director Rachelle Arias estimated aid requests would lead the lodgers tax promotional fund to a $51,000 deficit or a $55,000 surplus, depending on how much they can be covered by lodgers tax executive funds instead.

Arias budgeted a conservative $700,000 in lodgers tax revenue in the coming fiscal year. She said through mid-March, the city was projected to receive $868,000 in lodgers tax revenue in a year, but she was reluctant “to go that high” in her recommended budget.

Alan Daugherty, representing the Tucumcari Historical Research Institute, explained the Tucumcari Historical Museum’s four-tiered aid request for a total of $43,575.

Daugherty said $1,800 of that, along with $3,600 in matching funds from the museum, would be used to repair and repaint billboards it owns near Montoya and Bard along Interstate 40. A board member asked about using a vinyl-covered billboard, but Daugherty nixed that, saying it would cost at least $12,000.

Another $3,325 would be used for advertising and placing portable bathrooms at the museum during monthly special events for tour bus companies.

About $18,950 would be used to replace 18 windows and doors at the museum, plus repair lighting in the basement. He said the institute previously has asked the city to repair those items.

Daugherty said $19,500 would be used to hire an employee for 25 hours a week to work at the museum and other museums in the city. Such a worker would expand the museum’s operating hours.

Crotzer said his $38,200 request accounts for the bigger roles he’s taken on since being hired to run the chamber office last May, including events for the Halloween and Christmas seasons. The chamber’s membership has swelled from 73 to 128, and the visitor center’s number of visitors has increased.

Future projects, he said, include refreshing the Route 66 shields on the road, holding job fairs and coffee talks, managing tour groups, reviving the Pinata Festival, running the Wheels on Fire 100, adding a mural event and helping designate Motel Safari to the National Register of Historic Places.

The board will hold another work session at city hall at 10 a.m. March 30 to hear other entities give their presentations. It then will make formal recommendations to the city commission during its next regular meeting on April 6.

Because of miscommunication, several entities were not present to make their presentations or were unprepared to do so. Connie Loveland, executive director of Tucumcari MainStreet, said it was her impression presentations wouldn’t be heard until March 30. Board member Lila Doughty said it was her impression the board would review all the applications Wednesday.

The board also approved a proposal to use $1,500 in lodgers tax funds to pay for Doug Quarles’ room and board when he inspects and possibly repairs several of his older murals.


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