County uses tourism tax funds to pay ORV Park debt

Tourism tax dollars typically used for maintenance and buildings at the fairgrounds will be used to cover an overdue tax bill the county owes the state Department of Revenue.

On Monday, the county commissioners approved transferring $41,000 from its “Stadium Fund,” named for the stadium at the Elma fairgrounds, to the Offroad Vehicle Park’s special fund. The money comes from a dedicated tax paid by people who stay in local hotels and motels.

The ORV Park is being penalized for not collecting $34,967 in retail sales tax on its admissions for calendar years 2009 and 2010. At that point, the facility was run by the county. The operation of the park has since been contracted out to a third party.

A special admissions tax should have been tacked on to tickets, and that wasn’t done by the former county staff at the gate. Even though it wasn’t collected, it should have been and it’s the county’s duty to pay the lost revenue to the state, according to an auditor with the state Department of Revenue. Because the ORV Park is now contracted out, there’s not a lot of income coming into the park these days — rent is just $2,000 per month, which covers stormwater fees to the county and paying back county interfund loans.

Instead of taking another interfund loan, the county is just giving the money to the ORV Park fund to cover the debt.


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