The Corbin Tourism and Convention Commission voted unanimously to give $9,200 to the Downtown Merchants Association for seasonal decorations, and to help support to seasonal events coming up later this year.
Steve McBurney, a former chairman of the Tourism Commission and member of the Downtown Merchants Association, presented the request at the commission’s regular monthly meeting Monday. About $3,500 of the money will be used for fall decorations downtown, which will be done by the Peach Corner. Another $1,000 will be used to help promote Octoberfest – an annual one-day celebration held in NIBROC Park on Oct. 10.
An additional $2,200 will be used to enhance downtown Corbin’s Christmas decorations. McBurney said the money would go toward purchase of "greenery wraps" for light poles and lighting to go around the wraps.
Corbin Tourism Chairman Sudhir Patel asked about decorations for south Corbin. Patel is hotel manager is south Corbin.
Tourism Commission member Alan Onkst said he’s scoped out several locations in south Corbin he thinks would be good places for some larger scene decorations. One of the spots is a grassy bank across from Days Inn. The other is at the intersection of the Corbin Bypass and Cumberland Falls Hwy.
In other business, the Commission:
• Discussed, at length, problems with how checks are being issued by the Commission.
Tourism board member Jackie Willis said $10,000 the board approved to give to the non-profit organization Friends of Colonel Sanders was delayed because Patel wanted more information. Willis said she feels as though once the board approves a payment, checks should be issued without delay.
Board accountant Kyle Perkins said once a legitimate bill or invoice is received, then checks are issued. Then, a member of the board has to sign any check before it is disbursed. He suggested perhaps streamlining the procedure to hasten payments.
Willis said she worried that if payments were withheld often, then the board would get a bad reputation with contractors and others who do work for the commission.
Patel was silent on the subject.
The board, apparently, resolved the issue without any formal action.
• Discussed plans for a tourism information center building in south Corbin.
Several members of the board said they had heard rumors that the commission had plans to build a tourism center in the near future, but had not been informed of any plans.
The idea was presented several years ago, but the board decided to pass on the idea and instead used the money for the project to install new decorative street lamps downtown.
Patel said he had simply asked the architect who was formerly working on the project to make a presentation to the board in the near future about the possibility of revisiting the idea.
• Heard a financial report from Perkins.
The board had a net income of $14,000 for the period since the end of the last fiscal year June 30. Perkins said that was more than planned simply because the commission had not used money set aside to pay a tourism director and for some sponsorships.
• Perkins notified the board that Mountain View Lodge had not paid any transient room tax since the fourth quarter of 2009. It is not known exactly how much tax the motel owes since the tax is self-reporting.
The tax is one of the principal ways the Tourism Commission is funded, along with a three percent restaurant tax.
Perkins said a letter sent to owners of the Mountain View Lodge by City Attorney Bob Hammons was not effective in collecting the past due amount. He said the Tourism Commission does not have the authority to force collection of past due taxes and that the city of Corbin would have to take action to force the issue.
• Patel notified the board that a new "Welcome to Corbin" sign is ready to be installed on US 25E.