SOUTH FORK— The South Fork Town Board continued discussions pertaining to the Rio Grande Tourism Board and a marketing plan for the town during their meeting held on Feb. 27. The board passed resolution 18-07 which appointed two members of the South Fork municipality and 81154 zip code to represent the town on the Rio Grande Tourism Board.
Town Attorney Gene Farish read the resolution into the minutes and opened a line of discussion among board members. The resolution simply states that two local residents and business owners would be appointed to represent the town and 81154 zip code on the tourism board by making sure the funds collected from lodging tax and passed to the board for allocation were handled correctly.
In the past two previous meetings of the town, board members have discussed funding allocated from the tourism board and how South Fork, being one of the largest contributors to the funds through lodging tax and in accordance with state statute 30-11-107.5, should receive their fair share of that funding. For the past several years, funds allocated to South Fork have been far less than what they pay into the fund, since the town has 72 percent of the lodging in the county.
Town Administrator Dan Hicks explained that through an interview process, he was able to choose two local business owners that would fill the two vacant seats on the tourism board and represent South Fork. “I interviewed Malt Shop owner Kim Krahn and Ute Bluff Lodge owner Christian Grill who are both business owners and members of the chamber. Christian is the current president and Kim is the treasurer. Both are more than qualified for the task and will represent South Fork well," said Hicks.
Last month the board passed resolution 18-06 which was shared with the Rio Grande County Commissioners, strongly suggesting that the tourism board be dissolved and the funds collected through the county be delegated to the three communities— Monte Vista, Del Norte and South Fork— appropriately by the commissioners.
Commissioners responded to the suggestion stating that they would look into the issue and get back in touch with South Fork officials. Through further conversations with County Administrator Roni Wisdom, Commissioner Suzanne Bothell and Hicks, it was suggested that while research was being done, South Fork should go ahead and get representatives on the tourism board, which is why Hicks asked the board to pass resolution 18-07.
Farish explained that through conversation with Wisdom and Bothell they have made a formal open records request to obtain the past several years’ financial records from the tourism board researched to determine where the funding from the tourism board was allocated and how, as well as how much of the funding was provided through lodging tax collected in South Fork. “We will collect the data from this request and go forward from there,” said Farish.
Before calling for a roll call vote, Hicks further explained that an addition was made to the proposed resolution. In the event that it is proven that South Fork is the main contributor to the funds collected through the county and allocated by the tourism board then they should have more than three representatives on the tourism board in the future.
Board members voted unanimously passing resolution 18-07.