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October 23, 2017


Greg Puckett

Let’s be clear. As the only Mercer County Commissioner that voted against the continuation of these funds to support the libraries and airport under the hotel/motel tax, I feel that there are better ways to promote tourism in our area. I believe that the code is clear although varied interpretations exist amongst commissions across our state. Although funding is tight in many ways, I stand on the fact that we must allocate funds where it is not only needed, but lawful.

Bill Geist

Thanks for reaching out Greg...and we appreciate your big picture view of Destination Marketing on behalf of Mercer County. What I think is important for all those that make the tough decisions on the allocation of tax revenues is to honestly assess who benefits from those decisions. With the exception of those that house significant genealogy collections, libraries are not magnets for visitors; they are designed for residents. Thus, if it's important for residents, it should be supported with resident taxes. Just because government can make the rules work in these cases, doesn't mean it should.

Thanks for keeping the conversation going for what is best for Mercer County!

Laura Gooch

As a part of the CVB in Mercer County, we have had multiple opportunities for the County Commissioners, Hotel/Motel folks, Sheriff's Dept. to be informed on the code by presentations and discussions. Greg Puckett and Sheriff Tommy Bailey came and were very supportive of the presentation by Brian Helmick, legal representative from Charleston, WV. The other commissioners really don't care if they understand how the tax revenues should be distributed for tourism. Laura Gooch

Nathan Hendrick

I'm a resident of Mercer County and I am so disappointed in our commission. The money earned by the county with the hotel/motel tax should be used strictly for tourism related programs. There should be no grey area. If it doesn't make sense on any level, then don't do it. We all know outdoor recreation is the new driving force behind our tourism dollars. I haven't seen one ATV show up on a plane. I seriously doubt the hikers and bikers of the world are coming in to Mercer County in their private jet or charted helicopter. And I'm sure their first stop in town is at the local library... I'm currently working to develop 90 acres of real estate in Mercer County that is located directly on the H-M Trail system. The roads coming to and from, the lack of public water, and infrastructure on our end of the county is completely neglected but we show the most potential for new growth and revenue. As always, we will prevail because small business is the back bone of our economy and we have been making it work without any help from the local government. We will continue to do so. And I guess the tax dollars will continue to keep the airport up and running so the top 1% of the population can keep landing their private jets there.

Bill Geist

Talking truth, brother. And, best of luck with your project!

Henry Jones

I'm also a part of the CVB in Mercer County. As a local business adviser and CPA whose family has lived and worked in our area since my great grandparents arrived here, I can add a different perspective. Tourism is the fastest growing segment of our economy and the base on which our future economy will be built. As Mr. Hendrick stated outdoor recreation is the driving force of our tourism growth. Mr. Puckett's vision for investment in tourism will serve our county well. Unfortunately, our other county commissioners seem to discount the return the county receives on its investment in tourism. I understand that funding our libraries and airport are important investments for our county. If the tourism funds were reinvested in tourism, the resulting growth in our economy would increase the county's revenues and we could afford to increase funding for other priorities, including libraries and our airport. I urge our community leaders, including our county commissioners to consider the long-term return on investment when budgeting for immediate expenses.

Bill Geist

Great post, Henry. And you have nailed the reality that many politicians don't (or won't) understand. The increase in non-resident taxes brought by visitors will be the source of income for the libraries, education and other services. Without visitors, residents will be forced to pay higher taxes or forfeit services.

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