BETHEL (AP) -- The city council has decided to sponsor the Kuskokwim 300 Sled Dog Race, but won't exempt it from a percent sales tax.
Beverly Hoffman, K-300 race manager, had hoped the council would give the non-profit organization a break from paying sales tax on the money raised to put on the race.
''We felt we were dying a slow death with taxation going up,'' she said.
Hoffman explained to the council the hardships of raising enough money to continue events that her committee sponsors year round, including several dog races and a fireworks presentation. The group raises money by selling pull tabs and K-300 merchandise. Hoffman said the group barely broke even last year.
The group sponsors several races throughout the year with a combined prize purse of $145,000.
The race committee has $20,000 less this year than last, she said.
''This year we're making do with a lot less than we had in our budget last year,'' Hoffman said.
The council last year granted the Camai Festival -- the other big annual Bethel event -- a one-time exemption from sales tax. But it chose not to waive sales tax on merchandise sold by the race committee, which earned the city $17,500 in taxes last year. Instead, the council decided to sponsor the event with a $5,000 donation.
The city collected another $50,000 in taxes on the group's gaming activities.
''It is some of the cheapest advertising I can imagine,'' council member Jerry Drake said.
Councilman Carl Berger remembered the mink festival that was once a community affair before closing because of a lack of funds. He said he did not want to see the Kuskokwim 300 do the same.
Hoffman said she's happy to have the city on board as a Kuskokwim 300 sponsor, but is still interested in winning a tax exemption.
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