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Restaurants Who Did Not Collect Tax Don’t Have To Pay Tourist Commission

Tourist Commission Discusses New Logo And Website

Diamond Point Welcome Center. File image.

Robert Moore

Herald Staff

Editor’s Note: 101 Business Solutions is the owner of the Harrodsburg Herald.

Restaurants that did not charge the public the three-percent restaurant tax during March, April and May will not have to pay the Harrodsburg-Mercer County Tourist Commission.

On Aug. 20, The Kentucky Attorney General’s Office ruled that the City of Harrodsburg’s March resolution to allow local restaurants to not pay their restaurant taxes was null and void under state law.

Mike Inman, chair of the tourist commission’s board of directors, said he’d first asked for a ruling in April.

“You can’t take a tax and keep it for the benefit of one party,” Inman said.

At last week’s meeting of the tourist commission board of directors, Inman said the tourist commission had collected the tax from the restaurants that submitted it and did not refund it. A restaurant that did not collect the tax—that did not charge the public—is okay.

However, those restaurants that collected restaurant taxes but held onto them will have to pay that money to the tourist commission.

Inman said the tourist commission would inform all restaurants by letter. He said the tourist commission would not assess penalties for restaurants during that period.

“We’re not going to go back and put the screws to them,” Inman. He said they would not force the issue with restaurants.

“Our objective in all this is for restaurants to survive, he said. “That’s way more important than collecting a few thousand dollars.”

Board member Tim Kazimer, owner of the Kentucky Fudge, asked about restaurants that collected the tax but spent it. Kazimer asked about setting up payment plans.

Inman said they already create payment plans for delinquent restaurants.

Kazimer, who represents the restaurant association, said he would inform the members of the association at their next meeting.

Garnie Yeager, the tourist commission’s new bookkeeper, said they still receive restaurant tax payments on a daily basis, even though the City of Harrodsburg took over collecting the restaurant tax on July 1. Yeager said he takes the payments to city hall.

The tourist commission is looking to shake things up with a new logo.

Earlier this year, the tourist commission elected to hire 101 Business Solutions to create a new website, and part of the proposal was a new, interactive logo. It is not the same logo that was adopted by the City of Harrodsburg last year, which was part of the preparations for the city’s 250th anniversary in 2024.

At last week’s meeting of the tourist commission board of directors, some worried that a new logo might conflict with city officials’ plans to use a consistent logo for everything.

Last year, anxiety over consistent messaging for the 250th anniversary—as well as questions over the ownership of the logo—threw a hitch in the tourist commission’s efforts to erect wayfinding signs around the community. The tourist commission had already spent $76,000 and six years trying to install signs which had the city’s old logo, featuring Pioneer Man, on them. The tourist commission eventually managed to get the signs installed with Harrodsburg’s new logo on them.

Board chairman Mike Inman said he loves the city’s logo. Inman said he thinks it will be great for the 250th anniversary celebration.

“But it’s not our logo,” Inman said. “It’s just Harrodsburgburg and we’re bigger than Harrodsburg.”

The new logo will include Salvisa and Burgin.

Inman said he would like to put two or three logos out for public comment and push the rollout until October.

“We need to get this right,” he said.

He said the logo has to generate excitement and it has to fit in different formats.

“We were trying to get away from that professional, history look,” Inman said. “I want something so compelling that you can’t not click on it.”

The tourist commission is hoping to hold an open house at Diamond Point Welcome Center for the rollout of the new logo and the new website.

In other business, the Harrodsburg-Mercer County Tourist Commission:

• Voted to pay a bill from Balance Creative, the tourist commission’s former marketing firm, for an article that appeared in Prevention Magazine/ Triple AAA Tour Book. II said they got one lead from the article, for which the tourist commission was billed $6,086.74. The article was under the tourist commission’s previous contract, and Inman said he was uncomfortable with paying it without letting the board know.

Board member Tia King-Taylor said they should be reimbursed by the state for the article. They need to find out the state’s deadline.

“Hopefully this is the last one,” Inman said.

• Received an update from Garnie Yeager, the new bookkeeper. Yeager, a contract employee, said he was uploading the new budget and working on loading former employees’ taxes. He said he had reconciled every month from March through July and paid the bills. He said he believes the profit and loss statement for July is complete. It does not include taxes for former employees, but it does include their wages, Yeager said.

Inman said at the first meeting of the month, the board would like to see the budget reconciliation, bank statements and check register.

Yeager said finding past records has been a challenge. He said he’s made some adjustments.

“I really enjoy the job,” Yeager said.

• Approved paying Chilton’s Landscaping $75 to mow, trim the weeds and take care of lawn at Diamond Point. The board also approved paying $300 to glaze and repaint the windows.

Approved a fee schedule for using the conference room at the welcome center. It will cost $25 an hour to rent the conference room, $75 for a half day and $100 for a full day. In addition, renters will  sign a waiver, pay a fee for using office equipment and pay an hourly rate if an employee has to be on hand.

The next meeting of the Harrodsburg-Mercer County Tourist Commission will be at 9 a.m. on Wednesday, Sept. 9.

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