Pocahontas County Commissioners Set Hotel/Motel Tax allotments
With their January 17th meeting packed with representatives of various Commission Boards and other non-profit agencies, the Pocahontas County Commission took up the unenviable task of setting the 2017 allotment of the Hotel/Motel Tax revenues.
State law requires that 50% right off the top of the hotel/Motel Tax collected goes to the Convention and Visitor’s Bureau – which makes sense since they are responsible for generating a lot of hotel/Motel tax money. By policy and State law, the Commission gives $75,000 to Pocahontas Memorial Hospital and $50,000 each to Pocahontas County EMS and the Pocahontas County Fire Association. The Commission also allots $25,000 to its Bricks and Mortars Fund. The Commissioners then heard from representatives of other organizations who wished to receive a percentage of the remaining Hotel/Motel Tax revenues. Most were willing to continue receiving the same percentage as last year, but several asked to have their percentages increased after having been cut 1 percent last year. The Commissioners voted to maintain the same percentages as last year. The following organizations each received the percentages indicated.
- The Artisans Coop -3%
- The Pocahontas County Free Libraries -32%
- Preserving Pocahontas -3%
- The Arts Council -4%
- The Historic Landmarks Commission -5%
- Dramas, Fairs and Festivals -20%
- Parks and Recreation -33%
Lauren Bennett of the County Parks and Recreation, asked the Commissioners to change the timing of the Hotel/Motel Tax Distributions so that the payments to the Hospital, EMS and the Fire Association be spread out over two months instead of being paid first. This would keep her agency from having to borrow money to meet payroll in those early months. After much discussion, The Commissioners did not act on her request this year since the other agencies had not been notified or asked about this change.
In other actions, during the Hear Callers part of the meeting, the Commissioners heard Sam Gibson urge them to not approve Snowshoe Resort’s latest Resort area District –or RAD- petition when it is offered for Commission approval.
The Commissioners conditionally approved the request of the County Parks and Recreation that they be allowed temporary use of part of the Former Shoe Factory as a skateboard park this winter. The approval was contingent on satisfying the County’s Insurance Carrier’s concerns, which was acceptable to Parks and Recreation.
They received a monthly update on the Day report Center from Glen Galloway which indicated that the number of drug screens had been increased in December, which had been requested by the Judges.
They approved writing a letter of support for the Greenbrier River Trail Association’s grant application to receive $150,000 to repair the recent flood damage to the trail. The Association is contributing the 20% match funds for this grant.
They passed a resolution in support of the County’s fire departments and rescue squads to help them obtain grant funding.
During his Counsel’s Report, Bob Martin, reported that on December 13th, 2016 the Buckeye Counsel, Boy Scouts of America has sold 1,200 acres of the 1.800 acre Buckskin Scout Camp in Dunmore to , the Dominion Conservation Fund. This tract is located on the undeveloped West side of Route 28 while the remaining 600 acres is on the East side and contains the buildings and camp proper. According to Martin or one of the Commissioners, It is rumored this may be eventually turned over to Seneca State Forest as part of the deal to run Dominion’s Atlantic Coast Pipeline through Seneca State Forest. The Commissioners indicated they want to invite Mr. Purdy of the Buckskin Counsel to a future Commission meeting to discuss exactly what is going on with the Buckskin Scout Camp.
The meeting ended with an Executive Session to discuss a personnel matter.