February 24, 2014

Tourist Commission plans for more events

Receives good audit

By Rob McDaniel
Staff Writer

LAUREL COUNTY, Ky. — The London-Laurel County Tourist Commission has 27 events planned in 2014, including new events such as Grills Gone Wild BBQ Festival and Competition and the USSSA Spring Awakening IV Baseball Tournament.

“We have lots in the works,” said acting Chairman Jim Handy during their Tuesday morning meeting.

“We have 27 events scheduled between March and October,” Co-Director Rodney Hendrickson said.  “We just keep adding to that list as time goes on.”

Hendrickson says this year the county will see many of the events the people have come to enjoy, but there will also be several new events to be excited about.

Those events include nine unique USSSA baseball/softball tournament events, a half Ironman triathlon, a bass fishing tournament and trail rides.

During the meeting, the commission also received their audit report from Matt Shackleford of Cloyd and Associates.

“It was a good audit,” Shackleford said.  “You all do good record keeping and budgeting, have no compliance requirements and no deficiencies.  You all have a very controlled system.”

Laurel County Judge-Executive David Westerfield was also present during the meeting to update the commission members on county business.

“It was a very good year for Laurel County,” Westerfield said.  “In 2013, Laurel County was named number one in the state for the creation of new jobs, with 3,200 new jobs being created with an average starting salary of $12.88 an hour.  These were good paying jobs.”

Westerfield also reported construction at the Fariston Industrial Park is underway and that five new companies are looking at coming to Laurel County in the near future.

“I look for us to have some major companies come to us in the near future,” Westerfield said.

The commission also discussed possible legislation that would result in the state taking away a one-percent transient room tax that they put on hotels in 2007.

“We were told this one-percent tax would only go to tourism and that’s why we voted for it, but now the government is going to take that money,” said commission member Caner Cornett.  “If we knew that they were going to back out on their word, we wouldn’t have voted on it in the first place.”

According to Cornett, if passed, the one-percent state transient room tax will be put in the state general fund rather than towards tourism.

Also discussed:

• The commission hired a part-time assistant, Abe Abdollahi, who will assist in administrative duties, marketing, press releases, public relations and various other duties as needed.

• The London-Laurel County Chamber of Commerce announced they will be hosting a job fair on March 18 at the London Community Center.