WCVB: Victory; County: Count Isn’t Official

The Visitors Bureau is claiming victory.

But the county commissioners are keeping the official tally.

According to Warren County Visitors Bureau Board President Karen Sobkowski, votes Tuesday evening by the supervisors in Farmington and Sugar Grove townships bring the municipalities voting against the commissioners’ resolution over the top.

“It is over,” she wrote.

In order to finalize a change of the county’s designated Tourism Promotion Agency (TPA), the commissioners need the support of municipal governments representing more than 50 percent of the county population.

Failing to reach that number would mean the TPA designation reverts to the existing agency – the Visitors Bureau.

According to Sobkowski, the population of the municipalities voting against the resolution is 21,934 or 52.5 percent of the county. That would be enough to secure the bureau’s position as TPA for 2014.

The commissioners are keeping track more formally. Only municipalities that return signed resolutions are counted, according to Chief Clerk Pam Matve. So far, that’s just the City of Warren and its 9,710 people.

The commissioners were not in the office Wednesday and none responded to Wednesday emails.

Even the support of the municipalities may not be enough for the Visitors Bureau.

Commissioner John Bortz suggested at a meeting last week that the commissioners could withhold the bed tax dollars rather than bestowing them upon an agency that he said is not “in full compliance with how their financials should be kept.”

He did not make a formal motion but suggested that the commissioners think about either abolishing the three percent bed tax or holding the funds in escrow.