Finney commissioners to discuss CVB budget

3/16/2013

By The Telegram

By The Telegram

The proposed 2013 Finney County Convention and Visitors Bureau budget will be discussed during Monday's county commission meeting, though a decision may not be made until county officials work out an ongoing issue about using transient guest tax revenue for economic development incentives.

The Finney County commission will meet at 8:30 a.m. Monday at the Finney County Administrative Center, 311 N. Ninth St.

Interim CVB Director Larry Johnson said his board wanted to talk about the budget, with the understanding no action is likely until the bed tax issue is settled.

"It's been so long, I figured I'd go down and answer any questions they might have, see where things are at," Johnson said. "If they have any questions, or want to see some things changed I figured we could at least address it so once the economic development situation is made we can put it in and be ready to go."

Last November, the county postponed approving the 2013 CVB budget until a decision was made about sharing excess bed tax revenue with Finney County Economic Development Corp. The CVB has been operating this year using its 2012 approved budget of $800,000. Johnson said actual bed tax collections ended the year nearly dead-on at more than $799,000.

The county is still working on revising the charter resolution that governs the bed tax, a 6 percent tax charged by hoteliers to those who stay in local motels. Two weeks ago, the county commission sent the issue to its legal counsel to devise correct wording that would allow the revenue to be used for economic development purposes when a need arises.

In February, the CVB board agreed to put a $45,000 line item in its 2013 budget earmarked for the county's economic development group to use, but the current bed tax resolution does not allow funds to be used that way.

For more than six months, the CVB and Finney County Economic Development Corp. have talked about how future additional bed tax revenue that exceeds CVB's budget could be held in reserve by the county commission to use for potential economic development incentives.

Several other items on Monday's agenda range from an update on the Exhibition Building project at the fairgrounds to discussion of public works projects.

John Ellermann, public works director, will discuss culvert bids, permits, a noxious weed/KDOT Transportation contract, a noxious weed annual report, and an agreement for traffic signal maintenance; a monthly emergency medical services report; a Youth Services supplemental application for fiscal year 2014 state block grant funds; planning and zoning items including a Kansas Department of Health and Environment agreement for an illegal dump site clean-up and a clarification regarding mobile vendors; and a range wide plan concerning the lesser prairie chicken.

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