The Cherokee City Council on Feb. 10th discussed at length a review of the City's 7 percent Hotel/Motel Tax.
City Administrator Don Eikmeier and Mayor Pam Pierce recently met with Cherokee Chamber of Commerce President Mike Taylor and Chamber Director Julie Kent to discuss the Chamber's grant award program of City hotel/motel tax dollars.
The City is seeking a re-assessment of the program to help maximize efforts to promote tourism in Cherokee. Involved in that process would be the transfer of all hotel/motel tax revenue to the City, with the City Council then charged with overseeing the monies.
Currently, of the 7 percent tax, 3.5 percent goes to the City, 2.5 percent to the Chamber and Cherokee Industrial Corporation (CIC), and 1 percent to the Cherokee Area Economic Development Corporation (CAEDC).
State law requires that at least 50 percent of the hotel/motel tax proceeds go to tourism efforts.
Pierce is proposing the appointment of a newly created oversight committee consisting of City, Chamber, motel and restaurant representatives, and representatives of civic and community organizations. This committee, whose members would have limited term lengths, would evaluate the current application guidelines and the funding rating process, with the goal to support proven events and organizations that annually bring visitors to Cherokee.
The assessment also will allow the City Council to determine whether the current distribution of annual hotel/motel tax proceeds between City uses and the grant award program remains current, or whether revisions are necessary.
Presently, the tourism grant award program has a balance of more than $24,000, and the business incentive program (CIC) has a balance in excess of $7,000.
Tuesday night the Council unanimously approved a motion to transfer all the funds from the Chamber and CIC to the City's oversight.
"We want to make sure the funds are used in the best possible way," Mayor Pierce told the Council, adding that the Chamber's Tourism Committee had done an admirable job the past four years in managing the grant program.
In other business, the Council tabled a review of the City's Community Center Liquor License policy, pending receipt of information regarding new rules and regulations interpretation, according to Eikmeier.
Eikmeier also informed the Council that ice jams on the Little Sioux River have caused flooding in Wescott Park in Cherokee, and that City crews have put up barricades. The flooding also threatens the East Main Street vicinity at this time.