Village awards tens of thousands of dollars in lodgers tax grants

A participant glides through the Angel Fire Resort Zipline. The resort received the lion's share of the funding at $12,120. Taos News file photo, 2006

Angel Fire’s village council approved Lodgers’ Tax Committee and Tourism Department grants at its meeting in late May.

Speaking on behalf of the Shuter Library, Scott Jones said, “We basically live from event to event,” then added, “Angel Fire needs to diversify. We have golf, but this is not Pebble Beach. We should want to be New Mexico’s version of Sedona, not Valle Escondido.”

Jones added the village should consider sales or lodgers tax rates comparable to those in similar communities. “Our sales tax is lower than the people we would normally benchmark against.”

“I just came to voice our surprise that we were not considered for funding this year,” Music From Angel Fire’s Dennis Edwards told the council. “We know we bring people in who are not necessarily property owners here in Angel Fire.”

Jimmy Linton, Angel Fire Visitor Center manager, noted the committee received “14 requests totaling $117,000” for the budgeted $40,000.

“The committee did the best they could with what they had,” Councilor Rogers Lanon added.

Funds were awarded to six nonprofits. Angel Fire Resort received the lion’s share of funding at $12,120. Total amounts include:

• $12,120 – Angel Fire Resort.

• $3,000 – fireworks.

• $1,560 – Art + Farmers Market.

• $1,560 – concerts.• $6,000 – Food & Wine Roundup.

• $8,080 – Shuter Library of Angel Fire, Summer Festival concerts.

• $6,464 – ArtUp Northern New Mexico, Artist Studio Tour.

• $4,444 – National Veterans Wellness and Healing Center, Military Winterfest Weekend.

• $4,040 – Angel Fire Chamber of Commerce, Habla Tamale Festival.

• $2,828 – Eagle Nest Chamber of Commerce, fireworks.

• $2,020 – David Westphall Veterans Foundation, Memorial Day event advertising.

The remainder of Angel Fire’s lodgers tax funds will be spent on the following:

• $82,719 – operation and fulfillment of Angel Fire Visitor Center.

• $181,084 – advertising, publicity and promotion.

Local governments in New Mexico have the option of imposing a lodgers tax on rentals of motel and hotel rooms, trailer camps and several other rental settings. State statute allows such funds to be used for advertising, publicizing and promoting tourist-related attractions, facilities and events.

According to the state auditor’s office, “In determining whether an expenditure is an appropriate use of lodgers tax revenues, local governments reported that they consider:

“Will the event or use of funds bring people from out of town?

“Will the out-of-town visitors stay at motels, hotels, motor or [trailer] courts or other lodging facilities?

“Will out-of-town visitors be eating at local restaurants?

“Will out-of-town visitors frequent other stores, sites or attractions in the local area?”

Additional allowable uses include collecting and otherwise administering the tax; establishing, operating, purchasing, constructing, otherwise acquiring, reconstructing, extending, improving, equipping, furnishing or acquiring real property or any interest in real property for the site or grounds for tourist-related facilities, attractions or transportation systems; the principal of and interest on specific types of revenue bonds; providing police and fire protection and sanitation service for tourist-related events, facilities and attractions.

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