THE FERRARI HILL CLIMB WAS A SUCCESS AND OUR MERCHANTS AND RESIDENTS WERE HAPPY THAT IT WAS BACK…THANK YOU SAM TOLL FOR GETTING IT BACK FOR US!
THANKS JEFF WOOD AND ALL THOSE WHO PARTICIPATED IN THE TOWN CLEANUP AFTER STREET VIBRATIONS!
AFTER 12 YEARS AT THE VISITOR CENTER …HAPPY RETIREMENT AND THANK YOU TO IRIS FARRIS
LOTS OF OCTOBER ACTIVITIES ARE PLANNED… HOPEFULLY, THE MERCHANTS STAY OPEN TO SUPPORT THE VISITORS WHO COME FOR THEM!
SQUEEK STEELE DONATED THE $1700 TICKET SALES FROM HER PIPERS EVENT ….TO PIPERS……WOW…THANKS SQUEEK!
HOPEFULLY THESE MEETINGS DON’T “FORMALIZE” INTO A WASTELAND OF PUBLIC INTERACTION DUE TO “PROTOCOL”
By Nicole Barde
You can find the agenda and packet HERE.
During public comment, Sam Toll, Battle Born Digital Media and Marketing and Editor of the Storey Teller, gave a summary of the Ferrari Hill Climb which was held on September 21-22. He said that a lot of people came up for the event, the town was very busy on Saturday, and that most of the participants stayed 2-4 nights and spent a lot of money. One of the B&B’s said that they had 4 people who came up just to see the event and were not part of the race. Sam thanked the VCTC for their support and confirmed that the Climb will be on the 19th and 20th of September in 2020 and will have at least two sponsors maybe four. This year’s event got off to a late start since last year’s cancellation took it off of many sponsors and car enthusiasts calendars, which they filled in with other events. Now that the climb is back Sam will be booking a year out and the sponsor participation, and he is looking at doing a mini Hot August nights at the same time.
Sam also mentioned that he has been working with the Department of Taxation for almost a year to get them to break out tax revenues by zip code. He says that he should have it soon. That means that he, and we, will be able to see what the overall revenue trend is for VC ( 89440) and see what the actual impact of the events have on merchant/town income.
Board member and County Commissioner Lance Gilman made the comment that the TRIC zipcode, 89437, will go into effect this month and that it will also allow us to see the overall impact that TRIC has on County revenues.
Jeff Wood, Comstock Historic Center, thanked the 21 people who helped do town clean up after Street Vibrations on the 27th, 28th, and 29th of September. There were people from town as well and the Highlands that helped out. He also said that two of the bikers from Washington State stayed to help with the cleanup. He and his wife continued to clean HWY 342 almost down to Silver City and packed 6 bags of garbage. He suggested that since the Highway is a state road that NDOT needs to do that cleanup and that the VCTC, merchants, and residents need to be part of a three-pronged approach to keep the town clean and clear of event debris. He asked Lance to see if he could address the Highway clean up with NDOT.
Lance made a comment that he had seen the “people movers” at the air races recently and that since they were only used for the air races that the VCTC might see if they could use them the rest of the year.
First up on the agenda was a heartfelt goodbye and thank you to Iris Farris who retired from 12 years of service in the VCTC Visitors Center.
Next up were the financials. The Tourism Tax report shows that it is way ahead of last year at this time ( + ~66k) and almost double 2017 as well as being ahead of the planned for budget ( + ~$56k). The Transient Lodging Tax was also up by $34k compared to last year. The newly added data on Average “room rate” was changed to Average “VC room rate” and it stands at $90.
SIDENOTE– Did you know that the brothel pays room tax? Yes, they do! Every time that room gets flipped it’s a tax. Did you also know that the County keeps that information private, as with the other properties, altho it is included in the totals for TRIC. My question is if the report displays the Average room rate for VC why not have the Average room rate for TRIC? There are other hotels out there in addition to the brothel so why the omission? Just an inquiring mind……
Deny Dotson, VCTC Executive Director noted that the sales of Cemetery Gin has provided about $1600 to the Cemetery Foundation. The Foundation gets $1 per bottle sold.
I asked Deny for the actual financials for the whole Cemetery Gin enterprise and he said that he hopes to be able to present them after the audit is completed in December.
You can access the Marketing Update HERE. In addition to the stats contained in this report, RAD reported that the billboard on HWY 50 has been changed. Deny said that the billboard costs about $7k and that the Bucket of Blood pays about a third of that to have their logo on the billboard.
The Event update was short and sweet. The Outhouse races has about 24 entrants and the event is aimed at the younger demographic. Christmas on the Comstock has about one-third of the merchants participating so far. Marketing Director Katie Demuth has been calling for merchants to participate and while they can still sign up to do that ….the window to be included in the printed collateral is closed. The participants will have a spot on the event promotion which will drive people to their establishments to claim specific tokens for special deals, raffles and a shopping spree among other things.
The Silverland has a special “ North Pole” room rate for December of $59/$69 per night.
The issue of too many Santas came up. The Silverland wanted to have Santa at the property but Deny noted that the Town was going to have a Santa feature to the event and that having too many Santa’s might be counterproductive not to mention confusing for the children. That if there was a need for multiple Santas it would require co-ordination.
Octobers “Hauntober” events are scattered throughout town and are ongoing for the entire month. There will be paranormal activities at the Mackay, a Creepy Doll making class at St. Mary’s, a film festival of short creepy movies at Piper’s, the Pumpkin patch, Thomas the Train at the V&T, the Goblin parade on Halloween and of course the wonderful trick or treating on C street. Deny asked that the merchants try and stay open later so that our visitors have places to go…..especially for the Halloween trick or treating for the kids!
The Groups and Visitor Center report is HERE. Katie Demuth reported that the number of groups is significantly up over past years. To date, there have been 4069 people as compared to last year at 2741. There is also an uptick in operators coming to VC to check it out. The Visitor Center’s sales are up $19k over last year as well.
The Rural Roundup will be held in VC this year. This is a gathering of all of the folks who run the Tourism activities across the state. Katie is coordinating this event which typically has about 250 people and should soak up most if not all of our rooms for that week.
The Pipers report is HERE. Whitney Brunson, Executive Director for Pipers, reported that the Squeeky Keys event generated $1700 in funds for Pipers. Squeek Steele generously donated all the money from the ticket sales to Pipers. October has 6 events planned at Piper’s so check out the Pipers Facebook page to see what and when!
During Public Comment at the end of the meeting, Lance noted that this was a public meeting and that certain formalities had to be observed. Specifically that when someone is giving a report or presentation that they are giving it to THE BOARD not those in the audience. That any questions that people have should be held until the end of the report/presentation until after THE BOARD has asked their questions. That the interruptions during the report/presentation for questions isn’t protocol.
Sam Toll commented that public comments and questions are a healthy thing.
SIDENOTE– Since I am a frequent and flagrant offender of protocol on all fronts at all times…AND I have the attention span of warm butter……I have to say that waiting until the end of these reports to hold your questions would eliminate a lot of them since the questions come during certain points in the presentation/report which might be lost if held till the end. Maybe that’s the point?
The Board says that it wants participation and attendance at the meeting ….well, they need to maintain a certain amount of discipline in the meeting process as well as continue to make it easy to attend and not turn it into Parliament ( thank you for moving the meeting to 9am). They need to make it easy to participate and not choke it on “protocol” … I’m still going to ask my questions as they pop into my mind and probably get spanked…oh well……..recalcitrant reprobate that’s me…. I learned both of those words in Catholic school….care to guess why?
Board Member Arika Perry reminded everyone of the Fall Art Reception at St. Mary’s. It will showcase some of the artists but will also be the ribbon cutting for the new permanent Historical exhibition. Two nuns from the Sisters of Charity in Palo Alto, CA will be there to do the honors. The Sisters of Charity ran the hospital back in the day.
……and the meeting ended….way early…..even with the massive violations of “protocol”…..