ECD Tourism committee to have a new member

Friday, December 5, 2014

By Karen Hall


"We need a person (on the committee) from the hotel-motel industry," said Chairman Seth Warf when the Economic and Community Development/Tourism committee met in late November. "We're one member shy."

The ECD/Tourism budget is funded from the hotel/motel tax, so it is only right that the industry should have a member on the committee. The place was previously filled by Millie Miller Williams, owner of the Celebration Inn.

An employee of the Celebration Inn who would like to be on the committee sent her information to Mike Wiles to pass on.

"She's a very nice lady," said Wiles, who is executive director of the Joint Economic and Community Development Board. "You really need to meet her."

Pamela Alexander was not able to attend the first meeting, so the committee recessed and reconvened after the Nov. 24 commission meeting, when she was there.

"I've heard a lot about the tourism committee," Alexander said. "I would like to be a part of that. I work in the hotel industry, and I know what we have to offer here."

Committee member Bob Hopkins moved to recommend her to the nominating committee, and this was unanimously approved.

"We hope to have you on our committee," said Warf.

"We are in charge of half of the hotel/motel tax money," explained committee member Mickey King. "We disperse it for community development, industry, and economic development. That's the gist of what we do."

There is also $75,000 in the ECD/Tourism budget reserved for attracting industry. In practice, this means it is available for County Mayor Joe Boyd Liggett to use if matching funds are needed quickly to get an infrastructure grant, which would help seal the deal with an industry.

At the earlier meeting, Wiles told committee members how Marshall County recently partnered with Bedford, Franklin and Lincoln counties to apply for one of 10 $1 million workforce grants from the state. The county's matching portion is $50,000, of which CKNA has committed $25,000. Walker Die Casting and Meiwa have also pledged to contribute. ECD/Tourism was being asked for $5,000, Wiles said.

"We don't have that much in undesignated funds," Warf said. "But we have a fund balance. We'd have to go to the full commission to get approval to use that."

King moved to contribute the $5,000.

"Let's pass it here," he said. "Have it ready to go to the full commission."

"If the grant comes through, then the money would be there," agreed Warf.

"I don't think we'll have trouble getting it past the full commission," added King, and his motion was unanimously approved.