The La Paz County Board of Supervisors had some choices to make at a special meeting Nov. 7 to decide how much to fund outside entities. They had a lot of requests, but only $105,000 to spend.
“We’re picking and choosing here, but that’s what we need to do,” District 2 Supervisor Duce Minor said.
“It’s all about getting the biggest bang for the buck,” District 1 Supervisor D.L. Wilson said.
Much of the discussion revolved around funding for the entities that received the most money: the La Paz Economic Development Corporation at $30,000 and the Parker Regional Chamber of Commerce & Tourism at $22,000.
District 3 Supervisor Holly Irwin said she was not happy with the La Paz EDC because they had not kept her informed of projects in her district. She also had problems with the name, as some people believe they are part of the county government. She added the Supervisors’ address is on the La Paz EDC’s website, which leads to more confusion.
“People think they are the county,” she said. “They’re not.”
Minor replied that most of what the La Paz EDC has done has been beneficial to the entire county.
Wilson, who sits on the La Paz EDC Board, said the county’s sales tax revenue has increased, and that increase began when Rose Acre Farms opened. He said EDC President Skip Becker works for the whole county.
Wilson said La Paz County has received national recognition for their efforts.
“The EDC has put La Paz County on the map,” he said.
The Board eventually approved $30,000 in funding for the EDC by a 2 to 1 vote. Minor and Wilson voted in favor of the funding, while Irwin voted against it.
The Supervisors also approved $22,000 in funding for the Parker Chamber, which was less than the $25,000 they received last year and less than the $30,000 they requested this year.
When asked why the Parker Chamber asked for more money, Finance Director Terry Krukemyer said they wanted to hire another person, and the Tube Float didn’t bring in as much money as it had in the past.
Irwin said chambers all over the county work hard.
“What I hear all the time is Parker gets all the money,” she said.
After Lynda Goldberg of La Paz Regional Tourism made a presentation in Call to the Public at the start of the meeting, Minor suggested moving $1,000 from the Parker Chamber to La Paz Regional Tourism.
Wilson said he knew the Parker Chamber was less than supportive of the La Paz EDC and La Paz Regional Tourism and said he also supported moving $1,000 from the Parker Chamber to Regional Tourism.
The Board eventually approved providing $22,000 in funds for the Parker Chamber in fiscal year 2019-20, which is less than the $25,000 they received last year. They also increased funding for Regional Tourism from $1,500 to $2,500, and the Bouse Chamber of Commerce from $7,000 to $9,000. Funds for the McMullen Valley Chamber of Commerce and the Quartzsite Area Chamber of Commerce & Tourism remained unchanged at $9,000.
The following is a list of agencies the county will be providing funds for in this fiscal year, as well as the funds they received last year in parenthesis.
Arizona Peace Trail: $4,000 ($4,000)
Bouse Chamber of Commerce: $9,000 ($7,000)
CRIT Head Start: $1,000 ($1,000)
La Paz County Fair Association: $6,000 ($6,000)
La Paz Economic Development Corporation: $30,000 ($30,000)
McMullen Valley Chamber of Commerce: $9,000 ($9,000)
Parker Regional Chamber of Commerce & Tourism: $22,000 ($25,000)
La Paz Regional Tourism: $2,500 ($1,500)
Parker Community/Senior Center: $7,500 ($7,500)
Quartzsite Area Chamber of Commerce & Tourism: $9,000 ($9,000)
Quartzsite Senior Citizens, Inc.: $5,000 ($5,000)
In a presentation to the Supervisors in Call to the Public at the start of the meeting, Lynda Goldberg of La Paz Regional Tourism said she hoped they would consider the initial request for $2,350. She said this is the only tourism program focused on the entire county, and it’s funded by contributions from small businesses.
“We all help each other,” she said. “This is a county-wide program.”
La Paz Regional Tourism is best known for the annual “Passport to Adventure,” which describes many of the events taking place in the winter months in the county. Goldberg said this is distributed to all welcome centers in Arizona, as well as in California. It’s distributed to all the local chambers and in local businesses.
Goldberg said their total budget is $16,000, and it costs $9,300 just to print the passports. Their other expenses include distribution costs and ads they place in other publications.
John Bennett of the Bouse Chamber of Commerce also spoke in Call to the Public. He thanked the Supervisors for their funds for the Bouse Chamber.
“I thank you,” he said. “That doesn’t get said often enough.”