By Rob McDaniel
LAUREL COUNTY, Ky. —
The London Tourism and Convention Commission met Wednesday for their second official meeting since being established.
Commission Chairman Jason Handy opened the meeting with his thoughts on tourism.
“Tourism is the best industry there is, in my opinion,” Handy said. “We get to welcome people and accommodate people. This commission is exciting for me. I really look forward to seeing where this commission goes and what we are going to be doing.”
The commission then went on to appoint Sharon Cornelius as their treasurer.
“Depending on how you want to do this, you can have the City Clerk manage the checkbook and money,” City Attorney Larry Bryson explained. “If you go that route, the treasurer would provide updates to the other commission members and would work hand-in-hand with the City Clerk.”
Byrson said the commission has more autonomy than other city organizations and will have complete say in where their money is spent . If the City Clerk is used to manage their accounts, it would only be in a book keeping capacity.
The commission decided that they needed more time to determine how they wanted to handle their funds and plan to have a set list of duties for Cornelius by their next meeting.
The commission members then began discussing new business, which included where their funding will come from.
“If we don’t have a means of revenue, there’s no point in going any further with this,” Bill Dezarn said. “I think the people that voted for this commission already had a means of revenue in mind.”
Handy then informed the commission that currently they have two options for funding: they can enact a one percent transient room tax with the hotels and motels within in the city limits or they can enact up to a three percent restaurant tax.
“We don’t have an existing restaurant tax yet,” Troy House said. “So we don’t have to max it out, if that’s what we decide to go with.”
Judy Barnett supported House’s comment by stating that if the commission decides to enact a restaurant tax they can make it two or two and a half percent.
“The most important thing is that, if we start adding taxes, we had better have something to show for it,” Barnett said. “People are going to want to know what they’re paying for. They need to be getting the biggest bang possible for their buck.”
By the recommendation of several members, including Handy, the commission decided to hold off on establishing any type of taxes.
“Wherever we get our money, it can only be used for tourism,” Dezarn said. “The city voted for our commission, but this commission won’t work without a director.”
“Let’s look at other cities in our area and see how these places run their tourism commissions,” Handy said. “Once we have a better idea of how these things are run, we can move forward with making a budget and hiring a director.”
Commission members agreed that between Wednesday and their next meeting they would do research and find out exactly how much funding they will need to operate, have an idea of their budget and will have a list of qualifications they want their potential director to meet.
The tourism commission will meet at 5:30 p.m. on the third Monday of each at City Hall. Their next meeting will be Jan. 20, 2014.