Arts Council seeks back hotel funds
Jeanne Mozier, representing the Morgan Arts Council, asked the Bath Town Council for $5,000 of hotel-motel back taxes collected last year from The Country Inn.
The request for funding was made at the February 7 council meeting.
Mozier said the $5,000 represented the difference between the hotel-motel funds approved for the Arts Council by the town over the past five years and the amount the town was actually able to pay due to uncollected back taxes.
A court judgment last October ordered The Country Inn to pay $25,000 in back taxes to the town in October and November. Of that $25,000, the town by state law gave 50 percent or $12,500 to Travel Berkeley Springs.
The rest of the hotel-motel tax money is used to support local organizations that request funding.
Mozier talked about the impact of Arts Council programs on local businesses.
“The big programming that the Arts Council does that impacts visitors, of course, is the summer concerts in the park. There are seven or eight free concerts a year that are attended by an average of 300 to 350 people.
“I would say at least 50 percent or more are either visitors or second homeowners that then disperse around town after the concert,” Mozier said.
Councilman and Finance Committee Chairman Andy Swaim said the town’s plan is to first pay everybody who requested hotel-motel funds in fiscal year 2009-2010. Any left over money would go against fiscal year 2010-2011.
Mozier also reported on the work of the Historic Landmarks Commission.
She said 75 historic properties have been identified with accurate dates. The commission is sending out letters to property owners and will start installing plaques on the buildings this spring.