The topic of hotel-motel tax distributions at Wednesday’s Mingo County Commission resulted in a lengthy discussion about convention and visitors bureaus primarily concerning the newest such organization in the Town of Delbarton.
The Delbarton CVB received its recognition from the county commission in December during a heated meeting concerning how hotel-motel tax revenues would be divided. However, the Delbarton CVB did not receive its 501c3 (non-profit status) designation from the Internal Revenue Service until eight months later, in August. It was decided during the December meeting that those tax revenues would be split equally between each of the CVBs in the county which met all legal requirements.
Previously, hotel-motel taxes were distributed based on territorial boundaries set by each of the CVBs. However, disagreements arose over boundaries and over-complicated mapping. It was then the equal split was established. Since December 2018, any funds that would have been transferred to the Delbarton CVB awaiting its IRS designation letter were held and not paid out.
The commission, upon recommendations of Mingo County Prosecutor Duke Jewell, voted Wednesday that funds set aside for the Delbarton CVB during that eight month period could not be given to Delbarton because it lacked proper IRS determinations. That money will be divided among the Gilbert, Matewan and Williamson CVBs and redistributed to them.
“I was led to believe in December that the Delbarton CVB had its IRS designation and was just waiting for the letter to arrive,” said Commission Greg “Hootie” Smith. His comments were affirmed by the two members of the commission. “We cannot give money to non-governmental or non-501c3 agencies.”
Commission President Diann Hannah agreed with him because the IRS had not recognized the Delbarton CVB until August no retroactive tax distributions could be made to the entity.
During the discussion, Delbarton Mayor Elmer Ray Spence expressed concerns to the commission that there is a disconnect between the Town of Delbarton and its CVB. He said the CVB has indicated to the Delbarton Town Council that it is a stand-alone entity.
“They don’t want to work with the city of Delbarton. They want to stand alone,” he said. “But all the addresses on their documents are that of the Town of Delbarton. It is our post office box number and our physical address. I have asked if members of the council could be put on the board and was told there could be when there is a vacancy.”
Ina Mahon, executive director of the Delbarton CVB, was also at the meeting and said that Spence had been invited to attend the meetings.
“He is not an invitee,” Hannah interjected. “With most of the CVBs, the mayor is the chairman. You cannot have a stand-alone board. Your municipality is your CVB.”
She went on to say it appeared it has become a “Who’s the boss?” situation in Delbarton.
The commissioners agreed that whatever is happening between the Town of Delbarton and its CVB is an internal matter they will have to be settled amongst themselves.
“I don’t know what is going on between Delbarton and the CVB. I don’t know their disagreements,” Smith said. “We cannot solve Delbarton’s and the CVB’s issues. That’s Delbarton’s issue. We are here to decide upon today is does the Delbarton CVB get a previous disbursement.”
Later in the meeting, Spence told the commission that he and Mahon had talked during the intervening period and some headway had been made. Adding, that he told Mahon the town would release a check it was holding as a sign of good faith.