SPEARFISH — After completely denying Visit Spearfish’s request for money from the city’s 2021 community grant fund allocated through the hospitality tax fund, Spearfish city officials have agreed to a one-time allotment of $125,000 in October, to help offset its decreased funding for next year.
“In our latest meetings with Visit Spearfish they brought a revised budget and this funding will fulfill that budget,” said Spearfish Mayor Dana Boke at Tuesday’s city council meeting.
The city will still not contribute any of its 2021 community grant funds to Visit Spearfish as requested, rather it is reallocating back to Visit Spearfish the funds it withheld in June, in light of the COVID-19 pandemic, in order to give Visit Spearfish a better fiscal ending in 2020.
The refund comes as part of a resolution, 2020-27, which also directs Visit Spearfish, Spearfish Economic Development Corporation, and the Spearfish Area Chamber of Commerce to “develop collaborative efficiencies that will benefit the Spearfish community,” and requires the three entities to bring a report to council detailing those efficiencies, no later than Jan., 1 2022.
“The main thing that I’m proud of that came out of this is there’s a lot of compromise,” said Councilman Darick Eisenbraun. “There were two sides of the council that were a long way apart when we came into this. I think what we came to was a very amicable situation that I think is going to give Visit Spearfish the ability to operate at a very high level especially for 2021 and give the three groups time to create those synergies that all of us talked about.”
Councilman Dan Hodgs echoed Eisenbraun’s sentiment.
“I don’t believe you cut advertising dollars in a down year,” he said. “So I definitely was not on the side of cutting the hospitality tax budget, all of it to Visit Spearfish, so the compromise was very important, and I do think there can always be more efficiencies that happen, and I definitely that there needs to be more synergy with all of our groups they all need to work more cohesively together and I feel like this is a step in that direction.”
After the council had voted to approve the resolution Jared DeGraaf and Doris Cardwell, both small business owners in Spearfish, thanked the council for its decision.
To read more about this story, read Thursday’s Black Hills Pioneer.
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