Chamber of Commerce no show at Lisbon meeting

LISBON – The local Chamber of Commerce was a no show at last night’s Village Council meeting after having been asked to send someone to discuss how the organization is spending money generated by the village motel tax.

Council adopted a resolution at its Feb. 12 meeting asking the chamber to meet with them to discuss the issue, but Councilman Joe Morenz said he was told no one from the village ever contacted the chamber to request they send someone.

Mayor Dan Bing said he stopped by the chamber offices twice since the last meeting and no one was there either time, but he will continue to try.

Meanwhile, Morenz happened to run into chamber director Marilyn McCullough, who told him no one had formally contacted her about having them attend the meeting. McCullough also told him the chamber had yet to meet since the council adopted the resolution but she would begin emailing the village a copy of its meeting minutes to keep council informed. Morenz said McCullough and the two other chamber members he has spoken to assured him the money is being spent as required on promoting tourism.

The issue was raised at the Feb. 12 meeting by Councilman Jeff Snyder after he saw that the motel tax doubled last year, with the village and the chamber splitting the $40,181 that had been paid in 2012. He wondered if the chamber ever filed an annual report detailing how the organization spent the money.

When council imposed the 6 percent motel bed tax in the early 2000s, they agreed to split the proceeds 50/50 with the chamber. While the village can spend the money however it wants, the chamber is required to use the money to promote local tourism.

Some councilmen indicated the village had plenty of needs if the chamber was not spending the money as intended.