Generally these public hearings last less than a minute as Mayor
Keith Snyder calls the hearing to order, asks if anyone would like
to address the council, and then when no one responds, he closes the
However, this year, there was someone who wanted to
speak. Marla Blair addressed the council on behalf of the Logan
County Genealogical & Historical Society. Blair is the vice
president and program coordinator for the society. She told the
council that the group had their board meeting earlier in the
evening and voted to lend their voice in support of the Abraham
Lincoln Tourism Bureau of Logan County.
"At our board meeting earlier this evening, we discussed the
partnership we have with tourism. I volunteered to (come and) put a
word in for the bureau. Basically, that is all we can do at this
point," Blair said.
She continued: "We are not the only historical society in the
county. I have spoken with other representatives from those around
the county, and it our consensus that we would like to have the
tourism stand as it is because they are a partner; they (tourism)
advocate for us. They help advertise; there are a number of venues
which they visit; they are always present at out-of-town events; and
it is a substantial organization that does a good job as far as
we're concerned; and we're part of those communities and part of
those efforts that they are trying to support."
Blair concluded: "We felt we need to stand by them because they
are there for us. For what that is worth, and what you do is up to
you, but we would like for you to know that they do not stand
When Blair finished speaking, the public hearing was called to a
close without further discussion.
Later in the evening the council went into their final
discussions on the budget for the coming year. During that time the
tourism bureau was not mentioned.
In weeks past, the discussions have gone back and forth as to
what to do with the tourism bureau. This has all stemmed from the
city's interest in taking over the hotel-motel tax that currently is
levied by Logan County for tourism development.
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The county collects a 5 percent hotel operators' occupation tax
from hotel and motel, and bed-and-breakfast stays.
Of that amount, the tourism bureau receives the equivalent
of a 4 percent tax, which is budgeted this year at $142,770; Main
Street Lincoln gets a quarter percent, $7,500; Looking for Lincoln
gets a quarter percent, $7,500; and the remaining half percent falls
into a category called "historic sites," which was budgeted in the
amount of $15,000 for the county's fiscal year 2013 that ends Nov.
Funding awards for historic sites are considered county development. Once a
year during the county finance committee budget hearings, various
entities put in requests for funds for projects or events.
According to state law, municipalities have the first option to
receive the hotel-motel tax revenues.
Mayor Keith Snyder brought this to the council's attention soon
after he was elected for his first term in office. It then went on
the back burner until just recently, when the council members
decided they might be interested in taking over that revenue stream.
In recent weeks they have discussed the focus of the tourism
bureau and have talked about offering greater guidance to the bureau
on what the city as a whole would benefit from in tourism
At last week's committee of the whole meeting, the council agreed
to establish a special committee to address this with the tourism
bureau. The objective of the committee is to assist the bureau in
understanding the city's expectations of them. The committee will
also lend opinions as to whether or not the bureau as it stands now
is capable of meeting those expectations.
At last week's committee of the whole meeting, the general
consensus was that the city would not take over the hotel-motel tax
before Dec. 1, which marks the beginning of a new fiscal year for
[By NILA SMITH]