Lincoln County Room Tax Board member and owner of the Eagle Valley Resort, LLC, John Crosthwait, talked with County Commissioners April 7 about his proposal to hire a county Director of Tourism and Supervisor of Fairgrounds.
This person would be “a true 1099 employee (an independent contractor who receives his/her income from a given business during a given tax year),” he said.
“Our fairgrounds is not being managed by anybody,” Crosthwait stated. And he found the fairgrounds and conditions were deplorable in early 2013, requiring County workers and a labor crew from the Pioche Honor Camp to do cleanup.
“I get flack from groups that are coming in behind the previous group because they are not cleaning up for themselves,” he said. “Bags of garbage left inside the fairgrounds building, that will attract mice and other wild animals into the building. It needs a supervisor to go in after and see that it is clean, and the outside is also kept clean.”
He said the old ticket booth outside the fairgrounds needs to be torn down and the current one placed inside when not being used. He said an unused air conditioner sitting outside, might be stolen and only get about $15 worth of scrap metal, “but we’ll be out a $4,000 investment.”
In addition, Crosthwait said, We need somebody to go to Clark and Washoe County on all special events, like home shows, RV shows, Heldarado, Hot August Nights, etc. and pass out literature on Lincoln County.”
He noted the television ads being shown on satellite TV about the Utah National Parks, “and we have five [state] parks in Lincoln County alone. We need somebody, who on their own time, is going to these events, one who can make sure they do the job.”
The position would be year-round, Crosthwait said, but he thought the basic salary probably best come from both Lincoln County and the City of Caliente, and possibly the Room Tax board could afford travel and lodging expenses.
Don Shanks used to serve in somewhat of that capacity Crosthwait said, but moved to Reno a couple of years ago.
Crosthwait introduced Billy Ensor, an account executive with KVVU-TV Fox5 in Las Vegas to the Commission, who talked about the need to have local events better advertised, “spending money to invite people up here.”
KVVU did a couple feature pieces on Lincoln County and the local parks in the past year.
He advised promoting Lincoln County parks where people maybe don’t have the spectacular scenery, but they also don’t have to contend with crowds and heavy traffic. “Go to any of the places around here and you have ATVs, hiking, fishing, hunting, (planned mountain biking), petroglyphs and more.”
In his comments to the board, Ensor said, “Let us come up for a couple of days and shoot video that can be put on the Lincoln County website, but also on television.”
He said advertising that is going in the wrong direction, “advertising that doesn’t work, regardless of cost, is too expensive.”
Ensor said the same kind of promotions and advertising can be placed on Smartphones and other sources that are widely used. “Technology has changed the way that we can actually find people who are interested in coming up here,” he said.
As the Commission is now dealing with budgets, Commissioners said they would further discuss the proposal in their talks regarding the Fair Board and Lincoln County Regional Development Authority.
Crosthwait commented, “We say we don’t have the money for the person, but can we go without the person?”
Commission chair Ed Higbee said the proper channels would have to be explored first regarding the proposal, the Fair Board and the Room Tax Board, and for them to make recommendations or not to the Commissioners.