Convention Center Taxes May Divert to Tourism

By  | 

More than $150,000 a year in room tax revenue from Bowling Green's Sloan Convention Center may soon be diverted back into local tourism projects.

The room taxes from all of the other hotels in town currently go into the budget of the Bowling Green Area Visitor's Bureau, but the Convention Center money goes back into the Convention Center Corporation's fund.

But an ordinance passed on a first reading vote of 3-2 by the City Commission on Tuesday will divert the Convention Center's room tax income into a fund for tourism-related "special projects."

Gary West, the tourism bureau's director, says those projects could include land acquisition for the Lost River Cave, a new African-American history-related tour of downtown, purchasing the historic Jones House on State St., an indoor soccer complex, or more parking for the Convention Center.

The City Commission and Warren County Fiscal Court would have final say over what the funding is used for.

Mayor Sandy Jones voted against the measure, saying she didn't have enough hard numbers to make an informed decision.

Commission Jim Bullington, the main proponent of the ordinance, said new city projections show the CCC with a $4 million surplus over the next seven years, and says the $150k a year this ordinance would divert will not be needed by the Convention Center.

The measure must pass a second reading of the full Commission at its next meeting on Dec. 21 before it becomes law.