Alva Chamber wants to combine tourism, marketing efforts
• Presents plan to Alva Tourism Committee
February 28, 2021
The Alva Tourism Committee approved requests for online Alva tourism promotion and marketing and two junior rodeo events. All members of the committee were present for the meeting, which was held Wednesday at the Alva Recreation Complex in the Pete and Ruth Leslie Fieldhouse. The special meeting was moved from the City Hall council chambers because city office staff had been occupying that room due to a heating problem. The HVAC problem has since been resolved.
Once again the tourism committee failed to approve financial reports. Last month the committee’s certificate of deposit (CD) was left off the December report so it was not approved. Terri Parsons made the same objection about the December report submitted at this meeting. City Business Manager Angelica Brady explained that financial reports generated by the computer are difficult to understand so the information is hand-typed for the board for better reading. The CD was accidentally left off.
Chairman Norville Ritter asked about the CD having a different ID number for January. Brady explained it had recently expired and been renewed which resulted in that number.
There were also questions about handling encumbered amounts promised for future events that will not be paid out during this fiscal year which ends June 30. Brady said she would talk with the auditor about how to handle that properly. Because of these questions, the financials were not approved.
Ritter then advised committee members that the budget for this year is $150,000. So far $97,240 of that amount has been committed. Requests on that meeting’s agenda totaled $37,200. If all of that were approved, the committee would have about $14,500 left in the budget for requests through the remainder of the fiscal year.
Tourism Promotion and Marketing
The largest request on the agenda was from the Alva Chamber of Commerce for $21,200. Chamber Executive Director Jodie Bradford serves as secretary for the tourism committee meetings. She introduced Chamber Vice President Melissa Fisher and said Connor Martin, a member of the tourism committee, is president. Other chamber members present were Megan Lehr, Sally Eggleston, JoDe Bradt and Chet Shelite.
Bradford said the chamber board recently went through strategic planning and identified four core values, developed a mission statement and set goals. One of those goals was to promote tourism and local businesses.
As a result, the group would like to combine the efforts of the sub-committee of the tourism committee with that of the chamber. They propose that the volunteer sub-committee be disbanded with the chamber board overseeing the effort and requiring accountability. Ritter said the current contract for updating social media ends in February.
Tourism committee members expressed interest in the plan but had concerns about financing. Terri Parsons suggested the dollar amount be cut in half to cover six months where possible. Since the $8,000 request for Oklahoma Today ads was based on an estimate, she suggested that be cut out entirely. Web development at $2,500 and brochures at $1,500 would be fully funded. The requests of $7,200 for part time staff for social media updates and $2,000 for travel, mileage and food could be cut in half. Then the chamber could return in six months to give a progress report and ask for more money.
Tourism committee member Melinda Barton said she’s had previous experience with staff for social media updating and did not think enough had been budgeted. After more discussion, Ritter suggested they add $2,000 to the total.
Barton made a motion, seconded by Parsons, to fund the request up to $12,600. The motion passed unanimously.
Northwest Oklahoma Junior Rodeo
Tyler Ricke appeared before the committee for two separate agenda items. In each item, he asked for $6,000 to pay for the stock charge in two Northwest Oklahoma Junior Rodeo (NWOJR) events to be held in Alva. The first is set for July 17 and 18, and the second is for August 14 and 15.
Ricke said one of the advantages of holding the youth rodeos in Alva is the older kids can be exposed to the college rodeo program at Northwestern Oklahoma State University. The events will be held in the college rodeo facility just north of Alva. Those attending usually arrive on Friday before the events leading to Friday and Saturday night stays in Alva.
The two rodeos in Alva are part of the ten events held by NWOJR starting in May.
Both requests were quickly approved for $6,000 each.