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Guthrie Tourism Commission

What is the purpose of the Guthrie Tourism Commission?

The Tourism Commission was created by the Guthrie City Council to provide oversight of funds paid by customers/consumers of local restaurants (and future lodging facilities) and collected by those businesses to fund marketing and the development of tourism activity within the City of Guthrie.

When was it formed?

The Guthrie City Council passed the ordinance (Ordinance # 2011-18) in November 2011, following publication of the proposed ordinance in the newspaper and two public readings in December 2011.  It became effective in February 2012.

How are marketing and tourism development activities funded?

Ordinance # 2011-18, An Ordinance Levying a Restaurant/Lodging (Transient Room) License Fee and Providing for its Collection, pertains to the retail sales of all food, beverage and non-alcoholic beverages by restaurants in Guthrie, Kentucky, and levies a fee of three percent (3%) of the gross amount of all food and beverage sales, which shall be passed on to the customer or ultimate consumer.  The ordinance also puts in place a similar fee to be collected on the gross amount of lodging sales to pertain to any future lodging establishments that locate in Guthrie.

Who serves on the Commission?

The commission is comprised of seven members.  They are appointed by the mayor and serve without compensation.  The makeup of the commission shall represent backgrounds in restaurants and lodging, financial expertise, and be representative of the general population.  The mayor typically makes his/her appointments in February with commissioners beginning a new term on July 1.  Terms are three years.

Where do the funds go after they are collected?

The businesses collecting the fee submit monthly reports based on retail food sales to the City Clerk/Treasurer, along with the 3% fee.

 

What are the responsibilities of the Commission members?

The primary responsibility of the commission members is to provide fiduciary oversight for the collection, management/handling, and disbursement of funds (taxpayers’ dollars).  It is their responsibility to see that the funds are utilized to advance the City of Guthrie and provide real and tangible benefits to its citizens, as well as those visiting our community.

 

When and where does the Commission meet?

The Guthrie Tourism Commission holds regularly scheduled meetings on the last Tuesday of each month at 4:00 p.m. local time at Guthrie City Hall.

 

Why does the City of Guthrie need a tourism tax?

The fees collected by the city and managed by the commission help to provide funding support for assets that generate tourism activity.  Currently, those assets include the Robert Penn Warren Birthplace Museum, the Guthrie Railroad Museum (caboose) and the new Guthrie Transportation Museum & Welcome Center.  In addition, funds support activities, programs and events – like Guthrie Heritage Days – that attract visitors and tourists to the city.

 

Is information that accompanies monthly fees collected by restaurant establishments kept confidential?

Yes. By statute, any/all information regarding restaurant sales, etc. that is received in the process of collecting the fee levied by Ordinance 2011-18, may not be shared by city officials, employees or commission members to anyone else.

 

Do other cities or counties have tourism commissions and levy fees to fund tourism activity?

Tourism commissions and/or convention and visitors bureaus are common throughout the state and country.  Each of these bodies generates funding through some type of lodging and/or restaurant tax as set forth in KRS 91A.350-400. Across Kentucky’s 120 counties, tourism generates over $12 billion annually, making it the state’s #1 industry.

 

What will be the benefits of having a restaurant/lodging tax and subsequent investment in tourism in Guthrie?

It has been widely established that visitors and tourists spend money at various retail establishments while in a community, whether that be eating at a restaurant, purchasing gas for their car, or buying goods and services, or souvenirs. An added benefit is that the marketing dollars invested to promote the city as a place to visit can also help to grow and enhance the overall image of the city – ultimately attracting more residential, retail and industrial investment, thus improving the quality of life for all citizens.

 

When does the tourism commission meet?

The tourism commission is scheduled to meet monthly at 4:00 p.m. on the last Tuesday of the month.