Alva Tourism approves funds for golf tournament
• MOU with Chamber also approved
June 25, 2023
The Alva Tourism Tax Committee met Wednesday afternoon to consider a request to fund a golf tournament and the renewal of a memorandum of understanding with the Alva Chamber of Commerce.
Chairman Melinda Barton opened the meeting with members Terri Parsons, Scott Kline and Sadie Bier present. Angelica Brady was absent. Chamber Executive Director Jodie Bradford was present to keep the minutes, and Alva Business Manager Stephen Ford also attended.
Nescatunga Golf Tournament
After the minutes of the May meeting and the financial report were approved, Alva Golf and Country Club (AGCC) board member Larry Harmon presented a request for tourism tax funding. The 61st Nescatunga Golf Classic will be held July 7-9. The tournament is played over two days, but most team members come in on Friday to get a feel for the course.
The four person scramble is divided into four flights according to golfing ability. At least one member of each team must be a member of the AGCC. Last year the tournament attracted 42 teams or 176 players. They can handle 44 teams. Harmon did an informal survey last year and learned a large number of the players and family members stayed in local motels for the weekend.
He said the board thought they would not need financial help this year, but they had extensive repair costs on mowing equipment. They requested $6,000, the same as last year, to pay for the banquet and extra labor needed for the tournament. Total expenses for the tournament are budgeted at $28,300.
Parsons made a motion, seconded by Kline, to approve up to $6,000 for the event. The motion passed by unanimous vote.
Alva Chamber of Commerce MOU
Over the years, the tourism committee has helped the local chamber of commerce with funding for advertising in tourism publications and staffing of the tourism center. Then the chamber took over updating the VisitAlvaOK.org website with more tourism tax financial help. For the first time last year, the chamber asked for a memorandum of understanding (MOU) for the year so they didn't need to make repeated requests.
Wednesday, Tricia Coday and Magen Lehr presented an updated MOU for fiscal year 2023-2024 to begin July 1. Coday said prices for advertising in tourism publications have increased, and the chamber wanted direction. She said they could change from a full page in the Red Carpet Country Visitor Guide to a half or quarter page.
Coday had copies of the Oklahoma Today magazine, 2023 Travel Guide and 2023 Outdoor Guide that are published by the state tourism department. She also brought the Red Carpet publication. Committee members looked through the publications. Looking at advertising placed by Alva that featured surrounding attractions like crystal digging, sand dunes and Alabaster Caverns, Parsons suggested they make sure Alva attractions are also mentioned.
Lehr suggested the Red Carpet ad could be reduced to a half page, and Bradford said that was what she would recommend. With that change, the total payment to the chamber for the year would be $44,305 compared to $45,205 with the full page.
Bier made a motion to reduce Red Carpet Country ad to a half page and keep the others the same for the $33,305 total. Kline seconded, and the motion passed unanimously.
Ford told the committee that the Oklahoma Tax Commission (OTC) should begin collecting Alva's tourism taxes starting Oct. 1. He plans to send out letters by Aug. 1 to the hotels, motels and lodgings to notify them of the change. The OTC will charge five percent of the total tax to handle the collection. Ford and the committee members agreed they expect to see enough increase in collections to offset the OTC charge.
Barton asked if they could change the committee's application form to ask that forms be turned in 90 days before an event. She said at times they have been asked to decide on requests just a few days before the event. It was agreed that change to the application will be on next month's agenda.
Ford told the committee that the city is working on an ordinance to collect sales tax from temporary food vendors like food trucks and booths at events. They have four examples from other cities.
Bradford said she would be sending Ford the addresses of those who applied for tourism tax funding over the past year. He will send out letters about the sales tax ordinance change on food vendors. He said he could also include the updated application form requiring 90 days of lead time on events.