Four of seven applicants get economic development funding in Lander; distribution process under review

Four community organizations will receive a combined total of almost $140,000 from Lander’s portion of the local half-percent sales tax for economic development for the second quarter of 2022.

The Lander City Council approved the funding recommendation during a regular meeting last week.

Four of seven

The recommendation document indicates Apple Valley School will receive $70,500; Lander LLC – which Lander City Councilmember Julia Stuble described as a “boutique hotel restoration” – will receive $55,000; the Lander Old Timers Rodeo Arena will receive $10,000; and Lander Presents will receive $3,635.

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Three other organizations applied for funding but will not receive any this quarter: Rising Star Gymnastics, Fairfield Tree and Lawn, and the Holiday Lodge.

Alternative model

The Lander Investment for Tomorrow committee had proposed an alternative sales tax distribution model that would have given some economic development funding to all of the organizations that applied for it this quarter, but the city council decided to go with the recommendation from the Lander Economic Development Association to more fully fund those organizations that scored higher on the funding matrix that was developed to guide the process.

In the coming months, members of both economic development groups said they plan to review the sales tax distribution model, using “insight from the council” to determine “which direction you would rather have us go” in the future.

“The question is … are we trying to spread the money in that pool over as many applicants as possible, so we’re awarding people smaller amounts, or do we want to start (at the top of the list) and work down until we’ve completed that funding,” LEDA board member and LIFT liaison Sarah Hamlin said.

The issue, LIFT chair Andy Gramlich said, is that “the demand for funds is much larger than (what) we have available.”

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“We’re looking at the most equitable way of distributing (this money),” he said. “It (requires) further discussion on where we want to be in the future.”

For more information call the City of Lander at 332-2870.

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