SIDNEY — The Sidney Lodging Tax Committee will recommend that the Sidney vacant property inspector position be paid from the lodging tax money the city collects annually. The decision, which was made Friday during its meeting, will be forwarded to Sidney City Council for their approval.
The purpose of Friday’s meeting was to consider, according to the provisions outlined in the Lodging Tax Distribution Policy, grant-eligible activity applications that were received for the 2018 annual budget.
The committee recommended approving $73,500 for the inspector position. To quality for the lodging tax grant money, projects or activities carried out by the city or other non-profit organizations must meet at least one of the following:
• Encourage economic development in the city of Sidney;
• Contribute to the cultural well-being of the community;
• Seek to improve the quality of life for Sidney residents;
• Encourage patronage of Sidney hotels, restaurants and other businesses.
City Manager Mark Cundiff said although it is uncertain if the inspector position would contribute to the cultural well-being of the community, he does believe it will improve quality of life and may help with economic development. City Council member/committee chair Steve Wagner agreed that funding the position with lodging tax money meets two of the four criteria.
Some discussion ensued about salary increasing over time and whether that money would continue to be paid for from the lodging tax funds. Cundiff mentioned there will be an open position from a retiring employee in the future that could pay for the inspector’s position within the next five years.
The committee tabled requests from Raise the Roof for the Arts, for $30,000, and from Shelby County Historical Society’s Tawawa Park 70th Anniversary celebration project, for $2,500, until they receive further detailed information about the amounts requested. Not included in the recommended budget for council will be Sidney Alive’s Bocce Tournament, in the amount of $3,000.
Some of the larger requests the committee is recommending council to approve include Sidney Shelby Economic Partnership, $66,000; Sidney Alive, $50,000; Senior Center of Shelby County, $36,750; Sidney’s Shultz’s Battery Park sculpture grouping, $30,000; Shelby County Historical Society’s Civil War weekend project, $20,930; Shelby County Historical Society, $20,000; and the vacant property inspector position. Also automatically included in the budget, according to state law, is the 25 percent of all lodging taxes taken in goes to the Sidney Convention and Visitors Bureau.
City Council will meet soon to further discuss the committee’s recommendation for lodge tax funds.
Reach the writer at 937-538-4823.