Lisbon Chamber offers tourism spending report

LISBON – The Chamber of Commerce showed up at this week’s Village Council meeting with a report detailing how the organization spent its share of motel tax revenue the past two years.

The report was hand-delivered by chamber President Susan Shank and comes a month after some village officials suggested the chamber provide such a report showing how it is spending revenue generated by Lisbon’s 6 percent motel bed tax.

The tax was adopted in the early 2000s after the Days Inn was built and the property was annexed into Lisbon. Council decide to split the proceeds with the chamber, with the stipulation it be spent promoting tourism.

In recent years, the tax has begun to generate a substantial amount of money due to the shale gas boom in eastern Ohio. When council members learned the tax generated $40,181 last year, some members began wondering about how the chamber was spending its share.

Mayor Dan Bing was invited to the March 5 chamber meeting, where officials assured him the money was being spent as required. Bing indicated to them it be would enough if they began providing council with copies of the organization’s monthly meeting minutes to keep them abreast of how the money is being spent.

Shank provided spending reports for 2011 and 2012, along the meeting minutes for the chamber’s Feb. 12 meeting.

The 2012 reported listed $10,063 in expenditures from the chamber’s tourism account, with $3,434 appearing to have been spent promoting the annual Johnny Appleseed Festival, which serves as the chamber’s chief fundraising event.

Shank said the chamber has no problem sharing the information with council, noting they have added the village as a chamber member and officials are encouraged to attend meetings.

“We would love to have anyone (from the village) involved,” Shank said.

During the meeting, chamber member Susan Mowery, who was also in attendance, pointed out the chamber and village have always enjoyed a good working relationship, noting the chamber assisted on efforts to land the federal prison.

Mayor Bing reiterated he was satisfied with the chamber’s response. “I think you guys do a wonderful job,” he said.