Crawford County tourism bureau pushed

By Kimberly Gasuras -

A county-wide tourism bureau may be one step closer to being formed after a meeting at the Crawford County Commissioners office on Tuesday.

Galion City Council president Carl Watt said he initiated the meeting to find out the latest information after Galion City Council repealed one of the city’s two bed taxes of three percent a few weeks ago.

“We want to know where things stand with a county-wide tourism bureau being formed and a county-wide bed tax being implemented,” Watt said. “We need to know if we need to repeal our second three percent bed tax.”

Crawford County Prosecutor Matt Crall, who is the attorney for the commissioners, said the laws governing a county-wide bed tax are complex.

“Each municipality can only have a bed tax of three percent and each county can only have a three percent,” Crall said.

Crall added that both Bucyrus and Galion city councils would have to eliminate their three percent bed taxes to allow the county to implement a county-wide tax but then the two cities could add their own three percent bed tax back into effect.

Both Bucyrus City Council president Sis Love and Galion City Council member Sarah Capretta said their municipalities are prepared to repeal their current three percent bed taxes to allow the county commissioners to implement a county-wide tax.

Galion Mayor Tom O’Leary asked several questions about how the county-wide tourism bureau would operate and how the money would be spent.

Crawford County Commissioner Steve Reinhard said a committee needs to be formed to iron out all of the details which includes items such as by-laws, how the board will be formed and how the money from the county-wide bed tax would be allocated.

“We need to form a committee of five people which will include a representative from Galion and one from Bucyrus,” Reinhard said.

Debbie Miller, owner of the Hideaway Country Inn, located south of Bucyrus, volunteered to be part of the committee since her business would be paying the county-wide bed tax. She has also sat on the boards of the Ohio Hotel and Lodging Association and said she can share information she has learned concerning by-laws and other details.

Reinhard said one of the three county commissioners will also be part of the committee along with Trish Ratliff, the current director of the Bucyrus Tourism and Visitors Bureau and a city council member from both Galion and Bucyrus.

“I want the committee to begin meeting within the next week or two,” Reinhard said.

By Kimberly Gasuras