Alva Tourism Tax approves funds for NWOSU high school baseball tournament


Northwestern baseball coach Ryan Bowen spoke to the Alva Tourism Tax Committee Wednesday, seeking funds to help with a high school baseball tournament. Bowen said the tournament is a showcase for recruiters looking at athletes and shows off the campus to potential students and their families.

This is the fourth year for the tournament, which will be held June 22-25 at the Glass Family Field at Myers Stadium on the university campus. Ten teams from Oklahoma, Kansas and Texas are signed up for the event, and all but a couple of them plan to stay in local motels. Bowen said eight of the teams are returning from last year. “Once here, they really like what we have here,” he said.

Bowen estimated about 400 people attend the tournament with about 80 percent of them staying in motels. He requested $3,500, the same as last year, to pay for officials.

Sadie Bier asked how late games are played on Sunday, the final day. Bowen said unless it rains, they usually play the championship at 3 p.m. Although most teams go home on Sunday, one team from El Paso that has been in the championship game before has chosen to stay another night.

Scott Kline made a motion to approve up to $3,500 for the event, seconded by Bier, and the motion carried.

Financials and Budget

In addition to Bier and Kline, committee members attending were Angelica Brady and Chair Melina Barton. Terri Parsons was absent.

Committee members approved minutes of the last meeting and the April financial report. The tourism tax fund has a cash balance of $217,852.54 in addition to investments of $334,181.93.

Mayor Kelly Parker told committee members they have spent or encumbered approximately $44,000 more than was received in revenue for this year although they had the money to cover those expenditures. In order to balance the budget, the city council will need to do a budget amendment to zero out the year.

Parker went over a printout of the year-to-date revenue and expenditures before discussing next year’s budget. The committee estimated revenue from hotel tax at $150,000 for the year. By the end of April, they had collected 67 percent of that total. After ten months, the expected revenue should have been 84 percent. Based on actual collections, the expected year end (June 30) revenue would be $121,362.53. Interest from investments was budgeted at $5,000, but that is projected to be $3,341.23 which is 56 percent of the total budgeted.

Meanwhile, the committee has spent $165,030.01 through April 30 or 134 percent of the year’s budget. The estimated year end (June 30) expenditures are $239,455.21. At the end of April, the committee had spent or encumbered $44,546.01 above the $150,000 FY22-23 budget. The $3,500 approved Wednesday will be added to that budget deficit.

Parker said in preparing next year’s budget, they went through all of the current year’s expenditures for regular events and used that total to determine a proposed budget beginning July 1. The total proposed budget is $142,137. The projected tourism tax revenue for next year of $137,960 is higher than the projected actual tax collections this year, but it is less than the $150,000 budget of the current year.

Barton asked where the $150,000 commitment to the Alva Arena project was shown. Parker suggested the committee add cash to CD #4790077 to increase the $112,375.82 balance to $150,000. Then that CD could be labeled for the arena. Brady agreed that was a good idea, saying that way it would be visible to any future new members of the committee. Barton asked City Business Manager Stephen Ford to make that change.

Brady asked if contact had been made with the Oklahoma Tax Commission about taking over the collection of Alva’s tourism tax. Ford said he has been in contact, and it is going to happen but he doesn’t have a date. Barton said when the date is decided, they should send out letters to the hotels, motels and other facilities to let them know of the upcoming change “so they won’t get blindsided.” Ford agreed.

Brady made a motion to approve the FY 2023-2024 budget as proposed, seconded by Bier, and the motion carried.

Alva Chamber Report

Alva Chamber Executive Director Jodie Bradford-Stevison presented a written quarterly report to show how tourism tax money is being used. The committee approved $9,000 for tourism tax clerical support, $9,000 for visitor center support and $25,000 for marketing services throughout the year. In addition, Communication Specialist Emma Cline prepared a report on social media insights and website analytics. Brady asked if in the future they could provide information on how statistics have changed from one quarter to the next.

Bradford-Stevison and Cline said they could do that. They asked that those in the community with events to be listed go to the website at and submit the event to be put on their calendar and their Facebook postings.

Kline reported that he had updated the digital sign on the downtown square. He cleared off the old events being shown and added some new ones. He asked for a list of upcoming events. Bradford-Stevison thanked him saying she gets asked about the sign weekly.


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