Shelby County Supervisors approve budget – frustrated over Hotel-motel tax issue


February 19th, 2013 by Ric Hanson

The Shelby County Board of Supervisors approved the fiscal year 2014 budget. In a meeting this (Tuesday) morning, the Supervisors held a public hearing during which there were no comments from the public on the proposed Budget. In other business, the Supervisors gave an update on the Hotel/Motel Tax Dollars.

The fiscal agent, the Shelby County Auditor, received the remaining dollars, almost $56,500, from the Shelby County Chamber. The Supervisors also approved the hiring of Williams and Company to expand an analysis of the hotel/motel tax money from September 30th, 2012 through February 14th, 2013. The City of Harlan had hired Williams and Company for the previous audit of tax dollars and found no discrepancies.

Discussion about the audit centered around how the Supervisors planned to pay for it. Dawn Cundiff, Shelby County Chamber Director said an audit is not for tourism. She said“It is an audit. It is not directly, according to you guys, it’s used for 100% of tourism. That is an expenditure that is not geared toward tourism. That was your big thing with us on the 20% was not a tourism expense.”

Shelby County Auditor Marsha Carter contacted the Department of Revenue and indicated an audit would be a valid expense out of the tax money. The board approved the analysis. Afterward, Cundiff told the Board the Chamber did get legal council because their questions were not answered. Tensions mounted when it was mentioned that the Chamber did not receive their 20 percent administration fee from the 3rd and 4th quarters of 2012. ” You have acknowledged through your representation on the old committee on the 20 percent. You made a statement that pretty much you accused us of absconding with this money. Okay, my opinion,” said Cundiff.

Supervisor Schmitz told Cundiff they will not be receiving funds for those quarters. County Attorney Marcus Gross said the administration fee was found to be an improper expense and therefore stopped. Cundiff said the issue will have to go through the attorneys. At that point, a frustrated Supervisor Steve Kenkel chimed-in to ask the group to move forward and do what’s best for the people of the County.  He said “It is a negative cloud on the whole damn community. It is not just one entity. We all have to take ownership. If we have winners and losers, the whole county loses. It is time we move forward and work cooperatively together. I have a huge issue with the lack of cooperation. This whole county was built around working together and that is not what is going on now. It is very frustrating. As a group we have to move forward. It seems we take one step forward and then three steps back because someone else throws something else out there. We are trying to provide grants and good things for the whole community. That’s what this should be all about. And when I mean county, I don’t mean the supervisors and what we represent. I mean the people and what we stand for in this county.”

No other board action was taken on the matter.

(Joel McCall/KNOD)