Aug 132014

By Naomi Hatch

The Apache and Navajo Counties Mayors and Councilmembers Association is planning a geocaching event to bring visitors from around the state to the White Mountains area, but the cost may be prohibitive to Taylor. The association is requesting a commitment of $3,000 this year and $3,000 for next year, and anticipates the first event would be held in 2015. The same amount is being requested from each of the nine cities or towns participating.

Councilman Jason Brubaker is Taylor’s representative in the association. He advised fellow council members last week that he is serving on a committee to help with the event.

Each city or town would have as many sites as it wanted with specific coordinates, explained Brubaker. There is a hidden treasure chest at each set of coordinates with something in it that participants take out, then put something back into that treasure chest. In order to win the major prize, a participant would need to find all the clues in every treasure chest in each community, explained Brubaker, noting that the big prize would be a car or a side by side.

Brubaker said that he told association members that Taylor has limited hotels, and would have a hard time getting the $6,000 back in gas, food and lodging in the community. He suggested they get more money from the bigger cities that would have a larger benefit than the smaller cities.

“They said no, this is how it is,” said Brubaker, and asked him to get approval from the town.

Town Attorney Karl Lautz asked if any other states, regions or areas had done such an event and if anyone had done an impact study. “I agree there are certain communities that are going to benefit on that money,” said Lautz.

The town attorney said he felt the immediate impact would be the tax dollars that come into the community, but the indirect impact is bringing people into the community and feeling it’s a place they want to return to, and it would be difficult to calculate that impact from this event.

“If they want to do something big, can’t those things be donated instead of us using tax dollars?” asked Lautz. “That would be something else I think should be explored.”

“I like that it’s a family event, not an individual event,” said Brubaker, noting that it could be a three-day event or a one-day trip if that was what a family wanted.

Lautz asked if there would be a participation fee and how it would be used. He suggested they find another state, region or area that has done this type of event and see what the impact of their event was.

In response to a question posed by Brubaker, Mayor Fay Hatch responded that before they made a decision on what they could provide financially to be a part of this event, they needed more information and then more discussion.

Brubaker said he would take Lautz’ suggestions back to the committee, and moved to table this item until after the next meeting of the association. The motion passed unanimously.