Chillicothe City Council members on Monday approved contracts with the Greater Chillicothe Visitors Region regarding the lodging tax collection, and Grand River Entertainment for the use of Shaffer Memorial Park. Representatives from both groups attended the council's regular meeting to provide information and field questions from the council.
Amy Supple, director of the Greater Chillicothe Visitors Region, was accompanied by members of the board of directors and explained to city officials that the contract is reviewed every three years, and involves collection of the lodging tax, which is a tax placed on hotel rooms to benefit tourism efforts. The contract is for two years, and will automatically renew on the anniversary date for an additional one-year period.
The lodging tax, approved by Chillicothe voters, was first collected in 2001. It is a four percent tax placed on hotel room rates. Of the amount that is collected, the city retains three percent, while the remaining 97 percent of the amount collected goes to tourism. For the first several years, tax collections were around $60,000, Supple told the council. In 2012, the collection had increased to more than $100,000, due to more hotel stays.
The visitors region is involved in several activities, including traveling to trade shows. So far this year, the Chillicothe visitors region participated in five trade shows, with several more already scheduled.
The contract was unanimously approved Monday evening, with the full council in attendance.
Also Monday, Chillicothe City Council members approved, with a 4-1 vote, an ordinance accepting a contract with Grand River Entertainment, for the use of Shaffer Memorial Park. The ordinance states that the city desires to increase sales tax revenue and provide recreation opportunities for the citizens of Chillicothe, and that having a college-level summer baseball team based in Chillicothe will create recreational opportunities for citizens, and a potential for increase in sales tax income from visitors to the city.
The contract concerning the lease agreement with Grand River Entertainment for the use of Shaffer Memorial Park for the Mudcat games was approved with a 4-1 vote. Third Ward Councilman Tom Douglas opposed the contract, stating that his constituents opposed the sale of beer during the ball games.