At this morning’s meeting, county commissioners listened intently as Mark McCoy, Chamber Representative to BEDCO (Bourbon County Economic Development), proposed the current city transient guest tax give way to a tax more broad in nature. According to McCoy, the current city transient guest tax, which applies only to visitors using hotels and other hospitality businesses in the city, is around 6%. However, McCoy indicated that replacing the city tax with a county-level version would help generate more advertising dollars for hotels and other hospitality businesses throughout the county. For long term visitors, McCoy mentioned that a 28-day stay exempts a visitor from this tax, and that a hotel must have a minimum number of beds to implement the tax. According to Kansas Statute Chapter 79: Taxation, Article 53: Transient Guest Tax, the tax may be implemented by hotels or other hospitality businesses “having more than eight bedrooms furnished for the accommodation” of paying guests.
McCoy offered to do more research to see if this tax would be beneficial or if it would be detrimental to the county. He plans to meet with Blake Benson, President of the Pittsburg Chamber of Commerce, who oversees the transient guest tax for Crawford County. Commissioner Barbara Albright, who did some quick research during the meeting, said 34 counties in Kansas have already implemented a county-wide transient guest tax.
McCoy said, “I don’t see a downside” to implementing a county wide transient guest tax, and that he wants to see a “level playing field” for hospitality businesses in Bourbon County. McCoy also mentioned the detrimental effect of railroad-related noise on tourism in the area. McCoy said, “I’m not referring to the tracks–I’m referring to the whistling,” and that many people stay in Crawford County to escape the racket.
- Gary Houston attended the meeting in order to ask about a fence to be built near the Slick Rock Road bridge near 255th and Native Road. and. Houston said, “When they put the [Slick Rock Road] bridge in, they had an agreement to put a 5 wire fence in.” According to Houston, the owners plan to use the land for pasture, as the CRP agreement on the land is coming to a close. In order to use the land as pasture, the owners will need the fence to be built, complete with two gates for access.
- Bourbon County approved the hiring of two new employees at today’s meeting. The first motion and second approved the hiring of Jimmy Ray Wiggins as the loader operator for the quarry. A subsequent motion and second approved the hiring of Eric Bailey as a Sanitation Officer with Geographic Information Systems (GIS) responsibilities. Bailey will report to Shane Walker.