West Virginia Division of Tourism statistics show travel spending in Marshall County grew from $19.9 million in 2004 to $29.4 million in 2012, an increase which is prompting the county's Tourism Committee to become a convention and visitors bureau.
"Every single thing we are doing is for our county and our city," Joni Grubler, manager of the Moundsville Sleep Inn & Suites, told City Council members during their Tuesday meeting. "Once we become a CVB, it is required that you give us 50 percent of the hotel/motel tax."
Following significant debate Tuesday, council voted unanimously to give the tourism committee $4,000 toward the group's efforts to get the CVB up and running. West Virginia Code requires the city to give the organization 50 percent of the of hotel/motel tax revenue generated in Moundsville, an amount city Finance Director Kathryn Goddard said now ranges from $12,000-$13,000 per month.
During the discussion with council, Grubler emphasized her hotel generates most of the hotel/motel tax the city receives. Council members said they are now using much of this money for parks and recreation, which City Attorney Thomas White said he believes is legal.
"If they are a CVB, you are going to lose it to them," he told council.
Vice Mayor David Wood made the motion to give the tourism group $4,000 now to help them get started.
In another matter, council voted 6-1, with Councilman Phil Remke opposing, to re-establish the defunct Municipal Building Commission. Among the commission's authority is the ability to acquire, purchase, own and hold any property.
"This has been misrepresented to the public," Remke said. "You are just doing this so you can acquire property."
However, Wood told Remke he did not believe anyone was misleading the public, as the purpose of the commission is to acquire property. Members declined to discuss the specific property in question, but have held multiple executive sessions regarding real estate during recent meetings.
Council voted 6-1, with Remke again in opposition, to appoint five residents to serve on the building commission: David Rickman, Jim Cunningham, Phyllis Haynes, Jack Huntsman and Mary Tennant.