Monday morning the Marshall County Commissioners passed the ordinance establishing a Marshall County Tourism Commission on second reading. 

The revised ordinance establishes a commission that meets the Indiana code.  The commission will have seven members with five being appointed by the county’s executive body and two members being appointed by the mayor of the largest municipality in the county, Plymouth. 

Initially, members will be appointed to two-year terms with three members serving one year until the commission is established.  One of the mayor’s appointments and one of the commissioner’s appointments will each serve a one-year term for the first round.

The Marshall County Commissioners will receive applications and or nominations for the appointments. This will allow the towns in the county to submit a prospective commission member although it will be the commissioners making the final decision for their five appointments. 

According to the Indiana Code, a simple majority of the members (4) must be engaged in a convention, visitor, or tourism business; or involved in or promoting conventions, visitors, or tourism.

County Attorney Jim Clevenger suggested thanking the current Tourism members for their service and letting them know they can apply for the new commission.  He also suggested working to determine the contractual relations they currently have in place.

Once approved on the third and final reading, the commissioners will determine how they will accept applications from interested members to the new commission.

Commissioner Mike Burroughs asked for clarification of the new commission saying, “We are setting up a commission which is different than the Marshall County Visitor Bureau?” He was told yes by the attorney and asked, “The commission enters into an agreement with the visitor’s bureau?”

Clevenger said, “Apparently that’s what has happened in the past.”

Commissioner Klotz asked, “The commission we set up oversees everything and the bureau pays the bills?”  No one at the meeting was sure how it currently is working for tourism. 

Auditor Angie Birchmeier said, “As far as I understand it, the commission has a contract with the bureau.  The bureau can request x amount of dollars with that contract that sets parameters.  The bureau then decides how they want to spend their portion of it.”

No one in the county government has seen a copy of the current contract.    

Clevenger said the bureau is the same people that are on the tourism board.  He said the new commission might not find it attractive to contract with the bureau.

Commissioner Burroughs asked if anyone knew how much money was in the Innkepper’s Tax fund that they are divvying money out of.

No one knew the amount but the auditor said she could look up and see what’s been collected.