Bathtub races cancelled

The White Pine County Tour and Rec Board held a special meeting last week. Steve Stork is new to the board and also holds the position as chairman for the board. Several items on the agenda focused on the Director, Ed Spear.

Approving the 2018 strategic plan was one of the first agenda items. Stork noted that he had read through the plan numerous times, and agreed that a strategic plan is a guide to help the board to accomplish their plans throughout the year.

When Stork asked for input, Spear said “I probably would add one thing, I think the very first thought is that it targets southern Nevada…if your gonna do a state you do the whole state, there is every bit of opportunity on the western side of Nevada.  Same as California, Utah or Idaho.”

Stork spoke up by saying he understood what Spear was saying but also noted this was to increase room night growth, “it’s not restricting us from marketing in other areas, this is just our main focus. “With over 40 million plus visitors a year to Las Vegas, the Tour and Rec Board said they need to seize the opportunity.”

Marietta Henry, vice chair, said the majority of the visitors to White Pine are from Las Vegas. The plan was approved unanimously.

The next agenda item up was the discussion of any contact with the Tour and Rec board’s attorney by the director would only occur upon approval from the chairman, Steve Stork. “I just want to let people know that James Beecher works for this board, not this staff. He’s not a resource allowed for everybody.  I do think there needs to be a process that’s gone through before people start running to Mr. Beecher and start running up bills.”

Beecher’s time is billed hourly, so any  work requested of him is a direct expense to the board.

Spear said, “I don’t have a problem with that, the issue I would have, I think you need to have some budgetary constraints, you can always see the legal fees incurred are far suppressed we’ve ever had from day one on this board.

“I think the board should be in the same position, staff should be able to talk to you, the agenda item is only the director, it needs to be blanket.”

The motion was set  by Jolene Gardner to read staff, and board members will contact Beecher only upon the approval of the chairman.  This was approved unanimously.

Another agenda item was to approval for the director to provide a weekly written report of activities and progress on the strategic plan to all board members every Monday.  Board member Caroline McIntosh said, “I think if we are going to stay on track with the 2018 strategic plan, we need a written report of the activities that are actually moving forward so that we all know it is actually being adhered to, our director does a lot of things, but we are not aware of what he’s working on as far as progress and it would be very helpful that we are doing these things.”

Stork noticed Spear shaking his head and asked Spear for his input. Spear said, “Well there are times that’s going to be tough, but whatever the board chooses that’ll be fine. The week of Christmas and Fourth of July are busy,  I think that’s a little much every week, maybe it isn’t but that’s up to you guys.”

Board members began to consider if weekly was too much and McIntosh spoke up saying, “that’s our problem is that nothing happens because we are hearing it once a month, I want to make sure that were making progress”. This action was approved unanimously.

Some of the last few items became particularly interesting because it has an impact on many people in the community. The board chose to cancel the Volunteer Appreciation Event and Bathtub Races to allow time to refresh and restructure the events. McIntosh said some of the reasoning behind these agenda items were that she worked the bath tub races last year, and noticed it was a big local party.

The volunteer appreciation event was another item that was placed on the agenda to cancel. McIntosh said “It’s been a great event, but it really needs to be looked at. It’s a pretty expensive event and we could re-design it so it’s less expensive and accomplish the same thing. The event cost approximately over $9,000 last year.

“That is a lot of money that we could be using for marketing for hotels, our restaurants and businesses, and that’s the whole strategic plan is to increase our business.”

Gardner had concerns and said, “Most of our events are volunteers, without your volunteers we have nothing.”

The board suggested a workshop meeting to involve the public, but a date was not set until they could look at the events scheduled at the Convention Center.

The meeting turned back to the cancellation of the Bathtub Races. McIntosh noted it seemed like last year people were scrambling to put bathtubs together and explained that it seemed like a huge out of pocket expense for participants.

“There was begging of people to do boats, if boats could be provided, and participants aren’t expected to pay for them, that’s where this idea is coming from.” McIntosh asked Spear how many boats were at the event last year, Spear said, “Actual tubs probably not that many but each tub could be used for a co-ed race, a male, female, all kinds of different categories they can run so even if you only have 10 tubs you could have potentially 30 races.”

McIntosh said, “But I didn’t see 10 tubs, I only saw about four.” Staff member Lori Drew mentioned that there were seven tubs last year.

A representative from the Hotel Nevada sitting in the meeting mentioned that they were asked as a business, “If you’re having to go around begging it’s not doing any good. “

Councilman Bryane Goeringer said,  “I think the reason it’s declining is that if you have to put a motor on the boat it has to be registered, and it’s near to impossible, the event itself with the new restriction has had an affect. In the beginning you had really clever concepts, now there’s not a lot of participants, it’s been 7-8 boats for five years now, it’s not a draw. It’s come to the lake and hang out event.”

Stork said, “I think we have discussed this enough. I’ll make the motion to postpone the event.” A unanimous vote was received.

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