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I was pleased to read Ms. Lowery’s opinion in The Lebanon Enterprise dated March 2. It is the same feelings that I have heard other people express about the tourism commission and the recent controversy surrounding this.
I have no personal connections to Mr. Hamilton, Mr. Marrett or any of the tourism or city council members. When letters appear in support of Mr. Marrett, no one is taking away any of the good he has done through the years. I do believe people are well aware Mr. Marrett wants to demolish the tourism commission and Mr. Hamilton’s job.
Regarding the misuse of funds, the $12,000 requested by Mr. Marrett for the BBQ cookoff was approved by the tourism commission, not by Mr. Hamilton. I felt it was approved to appease Mr. Marrett’s comment made in the past year of the tourism commission not supporting the local community. How does anyone win with this? Mr. Hamilton has said repeatedly at the commission meetings that handing out money to the local community is not the purpose of the tourism commission. His focus is to draw visitors from the other 49 states and outside our local area to Marion County.
When I go to eat in Bardstown, Campbellsville or any other city, I notice a restaurant and hotel tax. I recently went to Ft. Wayne and paid such a tax. I have not quit eating at the restaurants in Lebanon. Do we keep from eating in Bardstown or Campbellsville because of their tax? Why does the tax bother the restaurant owners in Lebanon when it is not coming from their pockets?
I am agreeable for letting this tax go if there is not a purpose for tourism in Marion County. What draws a tourist: an event, a special place, history? History we have (Holy Land trail, Penn’s Store, Civil War, etc.), and events and places can be developed. If this tax is voted against by the city council, then we need to quit harping on “tourism in Marion County”, which is something I have heard for many years. We will have wasted six years of what Mr. Hamilton has been accomplishing. Each year he has shown a growth in the revenue brought to our county. I feel he has worked very hard to fulfill his job duties from the guidelines given to him over these years. Great things are not achieved overnight.