City of Lincoln approves new funding agreement with Logan County Tourism Bureau

Send a link to a friend  Share

[December 28, 2016]  LINCOLN - Last week at the Monday evening voting session of the Lincoln City Council, one action item on the agenda was a motion to approve funding of the Logan County Tourism Bureau for the calendar year 2017.

Before the meeting began, Alderman Steve Parrott, who also serves on the Tourism Board passed out copies of the bureau’s new by-laws.

When the action item came up on the agenda, Tracy Welch asked that the vote be tabled until the special meeting that would be held on Thursday, December 22nd. He felt it would be a good idea for the aldermen to review the new by-laws before placing their votes.

On Thursday evening, the vote to fund the bureau was the last order of business for the night.

Parrott made the motion to take the item off the table; seconded by Kathy Horn. The motion passed unanimously.

Parrott then followed up with the motion to approve the funding agreement, again seconded by Horn, who is a newly appointed member of the Tourism Board.

Welch spoke first saying he had reviewed the funding agreement and by-laws and wanted to make a few amendments. He suggested that the funding agreement could be approved with the condition that the requested corrections be made.

Welch said that the agreement said the bureau would deliver a report to the city twice a year. He said he thought the city would like to hear from the bureau quarterly.

Another concern was with the appointment of board members. Welch said that the Tourism Board could appoint new members, but that the city should be permitted to confirm the appointments.

Finally, Welch said that in the by-laws it does not clearly state that the city and county appointments to the board have voting power.

Parrott said that the original intent of the Tourism Board was to deliver quarterly reports. He said the Tourism Board also discussed the confirmation of new members by the Lincoln City Council. Both of those items could be changed.

Parrott confirmed that the city and county appointed board members do have voting power on the Tourism Board, and that portion of the by-laws could be clarified.

Parrott then amended his motion, to approve the funding agreement pending the changes requested. That motion was seconded by Welch.

Mayor Marty Neitzel pointed out another section that wasn’t clear. She said there was a reference to “director” where it said the board "may" appoint a director. She said she wondered if that should say the board "must" appoint a director.

Welch said he thought there was a different definition of "director" in that paragraph. He said, in that case, the word director is referring to members of the Tourism Board of Directors, not the bureau’s executive director.

With that question answered, the vote was taken and passed unanimously with all eight aldermen present for the vote.

[to top of second column]

In the funding agreement presented in the Monday agenda packet, it states that the city will fund the Tourism Bureau using 85 percent of the total revenues collected through the Hotel/Motel Tax.

The amount was reduced in 2016 from 95 percent to 85 percent to accommodate a cash request from Geoff Ladd, that the city assist with the funding of the final upgrades needed for the Mill on Route 66. That request was for a cash match for a grant Ladd had applied for to install public restrooms at the Mill. The Mill was awarded the grant from the National Park Service and has begun its work on the new restroom facilities. Once that work is completed, the Mill will be ready to open as a Route 66 Museum.

The original 95 percent funding came about when the city determined it would keep five percent of the total to help fund the Third Fridays Downtown events held in Lincoln during the summer months.

In City Administrator Clay Johnson’s memo to the council on the 19th, he said that during the budgeting process for the 2017-18 fiscal year, the city may consider changing the amount of funding to the Tourism Bureau to exceed the 85 percent it is currently supplying.

The new funding agreement also includes an automatic rollover clause. Both the city of Lincoln and the Logan County Tourism Bureau have the option to exit the current agreement with a 30-day notice. This allows either party to present and discuss issues of concern, and if those issues cannot be resolved, dissolve the current agreement.

With that clause is also an automatic renewal of the agreement. If neither party has concerns with the current agreement or the performance of the bureau, the funding agreement will automatically renew January 1, 2018.

The Tourism Bureau is currently seeking a new executive director. Because the State Tourism Grant for the 2017-18 year is due to be submitted by the end of January, and that grant application requires there be a permanent executive director, the tourism board is now scrambling to get someone hired as quickly as possible.

[Nila Smith]

Back to top