By Nicole Barde


You can find the Agenda HERE.

You can find the whole Board packet HERE.

During public comment Aengus Luker one of the residents who experienced some hostility over parking problems from event participants this summer thanked the Commission for the many “no parking” signs that have since been erected on his street. He said that since the signs went up that there have been no more issues and that he appreciated that.

The meeting agenda started with the financial update and it was good news all around. The Tourism Tax, thru August, is $9,934 higher than last year at that time and looks to be trending up. The Transient Lodging Tax, thru September, is also up substantially over last year by $63,619. This is due to the lodging property at TRI being fully booked. It looks like we have been at full capacity for the season all around. Lastly, the balance sheet shows the VCTC accounts are in balance. There is one caveat tho. The county just went thru a systems changeover and there are still numbers which haven’t been entered.

During the Marketing updates, RAD strategies noted that the Cemetery Gin inventory was quite low and soon to be gone. This is due to several product placements, Costco being one, which have depleted the inventory. More will be ordered. RAD has also kicked off an information card campaign for the local lodging establishments. The card will be in every room in all of the establishments and lists out the upcoming events, dining options and other interesting information.

Liquid Blue gave an update on Christmas on the Comstock budget which looks to be about flat to last year. The budget was approved. There was also a brief discussion about event planning for next year. VCTC Executive Director Deny Dotson hinted at several new events but would not give any details. He also said that the Taste of the Comstock event will not be part of the line up since the participation has been low over the last several years and that if the Merchants wanted to keep it that they could take it on.

Alexia Sober gave the Coalition update. She indicated that the Coalition would not have the post-mortem of the VCTC community event until the December meeting. She announced that the next Coalition meeting would be Monday, November 12th, 6pm. She reviewed the progress of the top three issues that the Coalition had developed to work on with the VCTC. She highlighted that the VCTC has been actively working to get the Docent program going and thanked the Board for this progress. She also noted that the merchants would still like to participate in event planning and in the marketing and PR planning and asked when those sub-committees would be formed.

The Piper’s update was delightful, as always, with Whitney Brunson providing a summary of the latest activities and reporting that the Murder Mystery shows are close to sold out in November. She also said that the December 8th show for Nightmare before Christmas show was sold out and that there were over 800 tickets already sold for the total event over the 4-night run.

She announced that there will be a wedding Faire at Piper’s to show off the local venues and vendors. She also said that although winter hours are in effect for tours that there are still weddings scheduled thru the winter.

Last up was the Director’s report by Deny Dotson. He said that the County was in negotiations with NDOT for the “relinquishment” of C street from the state to the County. C Street is a state highway which means that the state is responsible for its maintenance ( snow removal, repair, drains and gutters). It also means that the County ( VCTC) has been operating in violation of various state statutes every time C street closes for events, every time banners are hung across the street and every time vendors sell goods on the street. This has been going on for decades but now they want to relinquish the street to the County! The County is in negotiations with NDOT for the handoff but wants the curbs/gutters and drainage taken care of before it happens. This may mean that parts of the boardwalk will get replaced with pavers.

Deny said that there were several new events planned for the upcoming year, one in particular was an International Collegiate Mining Competition for four days in March which will fill up the towns lodging establishments. This is a great event to have in VC since it is right in line with our actual and true history. There will be hundreds of people and it’s a great opportunity for lots of special tours.

Deny also announced that the Black and Howell building had been demolished and that the next step was to get the Crystal Bar apprised for sale and sell it. Those funds would be used to build a new visitors center. Deny also noted that the Gold Hill Depot was leased out on a short-term basis and that he was working with the District Attorney’s office on the agreements for the purchase of the Fairgrounds property.

Alexia Sober, Coalition representative, asked Deny if the Coalition could be involved in the planning of the new events that he mentioned. Deny responded that these discussions were happening as part of the VCTCs internal meetings and that they make their decisions “behind closed doors”.

Alexia asked that if he was doing planning with those who were not his employees then the Coalition would also like to be there. There was a bit of back and forth at this point but the answer from Deny was still no.

SIDENOTE- ………I was stunned………….one of the top three issues identified by the merchants was a lack of the “voice of the merchants” in decisions surrounding events , the merchants feel blind sided by the events and the logistics of the events. The proposed solution was that the merchants participate , proactively, in a sub-committee with VCTC and Liquid Blue in deciding ON and developing the events…..I believe that this is a reasonable request and can be VERY EASILY accommodated by Deny.

For him to tell Alexia no to her request to be included in his event planning activities and to say that “decisions are made behind closed doors” ( his exact words) is not a positive development in the efforts to work together with the merchants. In a nutshell….his decision to cancel the Ferrari races with no inputs from the merchants is what precipitated the merchant uprising and anger in the first place. His refusal to allow the merchants to participate in the planning  for the events for next year is not a good thing….to say the least.

But I digress……

……and the meeting ended.

2 thoughts on “Summary of the November 8, 2018 VCTC Meeting

  1. ‘It is my way or the highway’ was the first thought that popped into my head. Decisions made behind closed doors? This is not a private business, but a public entity.
    The transfer of the highway to the County also concerns me. With high wind alerts, trucks are diverted to Geiger from 580. What kind of arrangements have been made for this? Will county taxpayers have to pay for road maintenance for this commercial traffic on C Street? What about the costs for snow removal, gutters and drainage, repaving costs? It seems to me to be a potentially huge liability.
    Will there be a special assessment for the retail business, to pay for something that primarily benefits them? I don’t believe their businesses could afford that.

    What other options have been looked at? Why have Commissioners not come forward to ask their constituents opinion about something as important as this. If the costs will fall on taxpayers, we will all have to pay for this. We should know how much it will cost, to begin with, IMO. And what other ideas were determined to not be adequate.

    1. We really know nothing more than what Deny reported. It sound like the County was not going to just take it until NDOT did all of the repairs including gutters and drainage etc that is in arrears. That means being on their project list….and that probably means years…..Then the county would assume the maintenance costs. As for special assessment….like I said…we know nothing until Whitten decides to update at a Commission meeting. At least Deny brought this forward….have heard nothing at the Commission meetings.

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