County allocates $130K in lodging funds to local groups

by Kate Shunney

The Morgan County Commission made their annual decision about how Hotel/Motel tax revenue will be divided among groups who requested the funds.

Under West Virginia law, a county or town can impose a lodging tax on rooms and vacation rental units. The tax has to be used to promote tourism, recreation, beautification, historical or cultural efforts in that county or town.

Visitors who rent rooms or vacation homes around the county pay a 6 percent lodging tax. Half of the collected tax automatically goes to Travel Berkeley Springs, the official tourism bureau in the county. The other half of the revenue is divided among eligible groups.

During the July 10 commission meeting, county officials reviewed Hotel/Motel fund requests from various entities, and approved $130,500 in disbursements. Lodging funds were budgeted in the following amounts:

–Morgan County Parks & Recreation, $31,070

–Museum of the Berkeley Springs, $6,500

–Morgan Arts Council, $14,000

–Apple Butter Festival, $5,000

–Travel Berkeley Springs (July 4 fireworks), $4,000

–Morgan County Tennis Association, $20,000

–Town of Bath/Streetscapes, $11,000

–Town of Bath, North Berkeley Rail Trail, $8,000

–Civil War Trail, $800

–Town of Paw Paw, stage repair, $3,500

–Cacapon State Park Foundation, $6,500

–Foxglove Garden Club, $3,750

–Mowing salary for county maintenance employee, $16,380.

Commission President Joel Tuttle said the county had requests totaling $180,242 from the lodging tax fund.

“There’s so many things that come into play. We try to do the most good we can with it,” said Tuttle of the various funding requests.