Feeling The Pinch

Apparently a couple of our local service organizations are feeling the pinch of the current economic downturn. Both the Loudon County Visitor's Bureau and the Loudon County Education Foundation are knocking on the doors of local government asking for tax payer funding.

The Education Foundation continues to ask the school board to give them $16,000.00. Never mind the attorney general has opined that school boards can not donate to nonprofits.

The Loudon County Visitor's Bureau has turned up the heat on both Lenoir City officials and county officials. Loudon County this year reduced funding to the Visitor's Bureau to 29% of the Hotel/Motet Tax. That 29% is expected to generate more that $100,000.00 for the Visitor's Bureau. Last year the county contribution was 35% of the Hotel/Motet Tax.

This year for the first time, Lenoir City is contributing $20,000.00 undesignated to the Visitor's Bureau. The city in the past has given $5,000.00 designated for a specific event. The city is paying the Visitor's Bureau with money generated from their recently passed Hotel/Motet Tax.

Members of the Loudon County Chamber Of Commerce, the parent of the Visitor's Bureau, and Bureau members turned out in force at both the Lenoir City Council meeting Monday and the county commission meeting later the same evening to make their case for even more funding from both governments. Representatives informed both governing bodies that without additional funding the Visitor's Bureau would have to close.

Most commissioners seemed to feel that the $100,000.00 + contribution was a generous contribution and that Lenoir City officials might be in a better position to increase their contribution especially given the fact that the Visitor's Bureau is located in their city and Lenoir City is the biggest recipient of the Visitor's Bureau benefits. 

Lenoir City officials seemed to be more receptive to the increased funding request. Both bodies will be voting on the requests at their next meetings.

These are tough economic times. Local government officials find themselves in the position of looking for places to save money and/or cut spending. Citizens are in the same boat. Both organizations may very well provide a valuable service but in these times everybody is watching their nickels and dimes.