2017-12-28 / Front Page

Board votes to change distribution of hotel/motel tax fund percentages

After much consideration, the Lincoln County Board of Commis­sioners voted to alter its distribution of hotel/motel tax funds, which will now exclude the disburse­ment of funds to the Development Authority.

“If the Development Author­ity needs funds it can come to the Board of Commissioners and request them directly,” Finance Director Traci Bussey said.

Bussey then explained, “When we receive those funds, 48 percent of those go to Elijah Clark State Park, or the Department of Natural Resources, for Elijah Clark State Park or to promote it.”

According to the director, the county is mandated to distribute those funds to DNR under a certain statue. With the remainder of the funds, 31 percent is distributed to the Development Authority and 21 percent is retained by the county.

Minutes from a 1997 Board of Commissioners meeting record that members approved that three of the five percent of hotel/motel tax funds would be given directly to the Development Authority for the use of maintaining the Welcome Center and any promotional efforts regarding tourism.

At the time, a resolution of the commitment of the funds was sup­posed to be drafted, however at this time county officials are unable to locate it.

“Based on the 1997 distribution of three percent of the five percent to the Development Authority, you have a 60 percent/40 percent split between the Development Author­ity and the county, respectively,” Bussey said, adding that this ac­tually matches up to the current distribution if the 2.425 percent that goes back to the DNR is subtracted out, which leaves a total of 2.575 percent – 1.545 percent going to the Development Authority and the remaining 1.03 percent being distributed to the county.

Chairman Walker Norman inter­jected that this decision came after the board was unable to allot mon­ies to the Chamber of Commerce, when requesting funding for the Christmas festival, as the county only had so much in the tax fund needed for other disbursements.

Norman likewise stated that Development Authority Director Jone Stone has no problem with the change.

In other business, the commis­sioner voted to have the CSRA Regional Commission prepare and deliver a project application, with all its required attachments, photo­graphs, and copies to the Georgia Department of Community Affairs at a cost of $3,000 in order to re­ceive future grant monies.

Members likewise gave Chair­man Walker Norman permission to act as the representative for Lincoln County for the CDBG application and its proceedings.

Furthermore, American Legion Post 194, American Legion Post 597, Cliatt Crossing, LW’s Bait and Tackle, and the Golf Club at Rocky Branch were all approved for their alcoholic beverage license renewals.

A firefighter cancer policy was also approved by the board, along with changes to the county’s employ vacation policy, maternity leave policy, and wage-hour policy.

Additionally, Development Au­thority director Stone updated the board on the on-going sign program in Lincoln County.

“We do now have all of our signs in,” Stone said, explaining that one large sign has been erected on High­way 47 that reads “Cyber Ready – Member of the Fort Gordon Al­liance,” that also features Lincoln County’s “Fresh Water Coast” seal. On the back, as passersby leave the county, the sign reads, “Anchor your business in Lincoln County.”

“The reason we were able to put ‘Cyber Ready’ on them is Reliant Communications – the old Wilkes Telephone – is upgrading our in­ternet service in Lincoln County to connect to what’s known as the ‘Columbia County ring.’ That’s the high speed ring connected to Fort Gordon, NSA, and Cyber Command,” Stone said, noting that the installation was set for completion this week. “So suddenly we’ll have the same internet speed available for individuals and for businesses.”

Interstate-style logo signage featuring Lincoln County’s food, gas, and lodging options are also set to be erected on Highways 47 and 378 soon.

The next meeting of the Lincoln County Board of Commissioners will be held on Thursday, January 11, beginning at 6 p.m. at the court­house. A work session regarding the meeting’s agenda will be held on Thursday, January 4, beginning at 3 p.m. in the conference room of the courthouse.

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