Boyd County Fiscal Court

The Boyd County Fiscal Court approved the first reading of a new ordinance on Monday that would establish a Boyd County tourist and convention commission. Rachel Adkins | The Daily Independent

CATLETTSBURG The Boyd County Fiscal Court approved the first reading of a new ordinance on Monday that would establish a Boyd County tourist and convention commission, ending a tourism partnership between the county and the city of Ashland.

Both are currently a part of the Ashland/Boyd County Tourism & Convention Bureau, which is funded by a 3% transient tax on area hotels/motels in the city and county. Boyd County recently placed a legal notice in The Daily Independent about the ordinance, stating the Boyd County tourist and convention commission would levy its own transient room tax.

The notice stated the county was “declaring an emergency to exist so as to permit two readings of this ordinance on the same day” during the meeting, but Boyd County Judge-Executive Eric Chaney said the second reading will take place later this month.

“I think (this ordinance is) going to be a good thing for all of Boyd County,” Chaney said. “This isn’t a negative in my opinion in any way, shape or form. I think it allows everyone across the board to get all the representation of all of Boyd County and I know that this new tourism group will also promote within Ashland every chance that they get.”

Chaney recently told The Daily Independent “there have been concerns from people in the county that they didn’t feel they were getting fair representation” from the Ashland/Boyd County Tourism and Convention Bureau. He noted the county does not plan to implement a tax on top of the existing tax for hotels/motels within city limits, adding the county currently contributes roughly 70% of the tax revenues to the operation.

Chaney said the county did try to sit down with Ashland Mayor Steve Gilmore to figure out how to work together and solve the issue.

“At the end of the day the decision was to split and for us to form our own tourism board,” Chaney said.

Gilmore told The Daily Independent that he and Chaney were going to appoint a new board with equal representation.

“At a minimum, we were going to do six months for sure; six months is fine, we were going to appoint that board and see if it can get working the way we feel like it should be working,” he said.

Gilmore noted that he feels the split is not the right thing to do.

Ashland/Boyd County Tourism and Convention Bureau Executive Director Sue Dowdy told The Daily Independent that the tax brought in $66,945 from city hotels/motels and $217,257.49 from county properties in the last fiscal year. During that fiscal period she noted the former Ashland Plaza hotel was closed and being renovated into the new Delta Hotel by Marriott.

“I will continue to work as hard as I can for our community which I’ve done for my entire life and I will continue to do that,” she said.

On Monday, County Commissioner Larry Brown voiced his support for the ordinance, pointing out that with growth comes change.

“I only see this as an opportunity to grow and expand tourism and economic development and to allow the city and the county to focus on their strengths and their priorities while continuing working together to make Boyd County better,” he said.

A second reading for the tourism ordinance will be held during the next regular fiscal court meeting on Aug. 19 at noon at the old courthouse.

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