Court, civic group looking to boost tourism

-A A +A
By The Staff

Members of Leadership Owen County are looking toward the future of tourism within the community.

Several alumni of Leadership Owen County attended the Feb. 23 Owen County Fiscal Court workshop to discuss a possible transient room tax.

Owen County Judge-executive Carolyn Keith said this type of tax is charged to people renting rooms on a daily basis – such as motels and hotels. She said it would not affect residents. Keith said the size of the county determines the amount of the tax, and it would be a 3-percent tax in Owen County’s case.

The revenue received from the tax would be dedicated to community development

David Morgan was one of the alumni of Leadership Owen County who attended the meeting. He said the tax could help fund a welcome center and a tourism director.

Morgan said past survey results made it clear that residents of Owen County want to maintain a rural and agricultural heritage.

“We need to bring in money and preserve that rural heritage,” Morgan said. “The people of this county do not want big industries. One of the ways that we can maintain our heritage and still bring money in is by tourism.”

Morgan said one of the important things to remember is that if the tax were to be put in place, it would not be a tax on citizens of Owen County, but instead on visitors who stay overnight.

Other counties in Kentucky that have a transient room tax in place gain about $40,000 a year from the tax, Morgan said.

Keith said by having a tourism director, Owen County might receive more grants for community development.

“When you apply for a community-development grant, one of the first things you are asked is if you have a tourism director,” Keith said. “If we were to have one in place it would show that we’re making an attempt to better our tourism efforts, and we would be taken more seriously.”

“This is a special place and it’s a beautiful place,” Morgan said. “We want to share it with other people.”

The fiscal court held a special meeting before the workshop for a first reading of an ordinance to amend the 2009-2010 budget to include excess fees from the Owen County Sheriff’s Office and the Owen County Clerk’s Office.

Keith said an Internet and e-mail policy will be voted on during the court’s regular meeting March 9.