MOUNT GILEAD — Morrow County Commissioners, with the assistance of Development Director Shane Farnsworth, prepared and approved a resolution to establish a Convention and Visitors Bureau in Morrow County.
A primary purpose of this bureau will be the administration and implementation of the new lodging excise tax for hotels and campgrounds that began Jan. 1.
This is the first countywide lodging tax for Morrow County, although Chester and Franklin Townships have had this kind of tax for hotels at I-71 and State Route 95.
The commissioners’ June 2017 resolution established the bed tax at 3 percent, to be collected by businesses.
Another purpose of the Morrow CVB will be the development and review of a strategic marketing plan to increase tourism, business, recruitment and visibility of Morrow County.
Farnsworth noted the county already offers numerous recreation facilities such as The Cardinal Center, Mount Gilead State Park and Mid-Ohio Sports Car Course. He hopes the CVB will increase collaboration among Morrow County businesses for the betterment of the county.
Commissioner Tom Whiston said that funds for the CVB will be from the lodging tax. No county taxpayer money will be taken from the county’s general fund for the bureau.
The board of the Morrow County CVB will consist of at least five board members. Terms will range from one to three years.
CVB Board members for Dec. 1, 2017-Nov. 30, 2020 include: Brandon Hayes, financial professional, First Knox Bank; Shane Farnsworth, Morrow County Development Director; Sue Nigh, hospitality industry, Heartland Conference and Retreat Center; Elijah Duncan, The Cardinal Center, Fishburn Services; Kris Bonecutter, marketing professional, Bonecutter Properties; Lea Maceyko, Cardington representative and financial professional and Don Wiggins, Chamber of Commerce President.
Commissioner Warren Davis said that the lodging tax will be collected in the county for hotels, campgrounds and any business providing lodging for more than five beds. Church and non-profit groups are exempted from this tax.
Farnsworth looks at the purpose of the CVB as an opportunity to market present venues and park areas. He said it will benefit county villages and existing businesses and new businesses.
Farnsworth said this is a time of growth in Morrow County with the sports complex at I-71 and State Route 61. He emphasized that the commissioners want the county to have optimal benefit for residents and businesses in the county.