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Pagosa Springs
Tuesday, August 9, 2022

Tourism director outlines budgetary concerns

By Chris Mannara
Staff Writer

During a special meeting of the Pagosa Area Tourism Board (PATB) on April 16, the board discussed potential budgetary ramifications as a result of the coronavirus.

“Our budget will obviously be significantly affected,” Tourism Director Jennie Green said during the meeting. “One thing to keep in mind with the lodging tax budget is, without tourism, there is no money coming in.”

Currently, the PATB has received January lodgers’ tax collections from the Town of Pagosa Springs and is anticipating receiving first quarter collections from Archuleta County around the end of May, Green explained.

Within agenda documentation, Green outlined a three-year average in collections from both the town and county, what the anticipated percentage drop would be for both town and county and projected collections for both.

For example, for March from 2017-2019, the three-year average of collections for the town was about $60,216. The anticipated percentage drop is expected to be 60 percent with only $24,086 in projected collections from the town.

“Because we did miss the busiest of the spring break weeks and really only had, I’m going to say, 10-12 days of March traffic,” she said.

In April, three years of collections averaged out to about $33,635. The anticipated percentage drop is expected to be 100 percent, with little to no lodging tax being collected during that month, according to Green.

“I really don’t think we have a lot of visitors in town right now,” she said. 

For May, there is projected to be a 90 percent drop in collections, going from an average of $45,532 to $4,553, Green explained.

“Everything that I’m hearing, it seems like that the industry seems to think that perhaps by July we’ll start to be bouncing back somewhat,” Green said.

In total, from January to December, the town’s three-year average for lodging tax collections from 2017-2019 was $653,473. The projected collections in that same time frame this year is expected to be about $338,454.

For the county, the first quarter is projected to have a 25 percent drop in collections, going from the three-year average of $37,028 to a projected $25,919, according to agenda documentation.

The second quarter is anticipated to have an 80 percent drop in collections, going from the three-year average of $43,820 to a projected $8,764, according to agenda documentation.

For the third and fourth quarters of the county, collections are projected to drop 50 and 40 percent; total collections for the county are projected to go from $206,428 to $103,084.

The unaudited reserve balance for 2020 is currently $654,000, Green explained, adding that the town’s auditors have requested the PATB keep three months of expenditures in reserves, which is about $270,000.

With those changes, there would be $384,000 in the 2020 budget, Green noted.

However, due to three infrastructure items on the budget, a Watershed grant of $2,500, a $40,000 contribution to the Hermosa Trail extension and a portable event stage of $83,000, Green highlighted the potential of a “shortfall” of $136,000.

“I’m not proposing any cuts at this point, but I have gone through the budget and, just given the fact that the visitors’ center has been closed, and will be closed likely through May, there’s a reduced expenses as a result of that,” she said.

Green noted that, if the PATB needs to, she will bring forward “some options for cutting the budget more significantly” if the board needs to make up the $136,000.


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