The Grayson Tourism & Convention Commission has put all grants on hold as they wait for the funds to come in from unpaid hotel taxes. The commission has been attempting to get the hotels to pay the tourism taxes collected from those who rent rooms in Grayson hotels for several months now, and commission chair Mindy Woods-Click has met with Grayson city attorney Jason Greer to begin the process of filing liens on the properties.

After announcing this course of action some of the hotels have remitted part of the tax funds they owe, but they have not paid the late fees on those taxes as required by law.

The group chose to put all grants on hold last month, with three groups currently "on the table" for grant support once the commission begins receiving their funds from the area hotels. The three groups requesting grant support from the commission include the Carter County Fair Board, the Grayson Rotary Club for the Funtoberfest celebration, and the Grayson Fire Department for their Hometown Holidays displays.

While the board is also waiting on some late fees to be paid from the restaurant tax, all restaurants have paid their taxes as required. The hotels, however, continue to hold out on payments and fail to pay late fees and penalties as laid out in the city's statutes.

While the funds from the hotel tax are distributed to the commission, the taxes are collected by the city of Grayson, who then remits them to tourism.

"This needs to be enforced," Woods-Click told the commission.

While the commission can't currently afford to pay out for grants, it does have enough funds available to begin the necessary repairs to the sewer lines that serve the tourism cabin and the Grayson Gallery & Art Center. Those sewage lines have collapsed, causing issues with the toilets and other plumbing at both locations.

The commission initially submitted the collapse to insurance, but the claim for the lines has been denied. That leaves the commission on the hook for the $19,000 cost to fix the lines. That cost includes the required horizontal boring to tie the two buildings into the closest sewer main on the opposite side of Carol Malone Boulevard. Making the repairs, however, will take nearly all of the funds the commission currently has in reserve.

Tourism also moved to delay action on landscaping around the tourism cabin until tax funds and penalties are received.

"If we're not doing grants, we can't do the landscaping," Woods-Click told the commission.

The next meeting of the Grayson Tourism & Convention Commission is scheduled for Thursday, September 12 at 5 p.m. in the tourism cabin. The next meeting of the Hometown Holidays committee will be September 9, at 5:30 p.m., also in the tourism cabin.

Contact the writer at jwells@journal-times.com.

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