Cemetery gets an increase in city room tax dollarsThe Hudson City Council at its last meeting approved a 2012 room tax budget that includes an additional $4,000 for the maintenance of Willow River Cemetery.
By: Randy Hanson, Hudson Star-Observer
The Hudson City Council at its last meeting approved a 2012 room tax budget that includes an additional $4,000 for the maintenance of Willow River Cemetery.
The cemetery will receive $8,000 this year under the $150,000 budget adopted by the council.
Cemetery caretaker Mike Miller told the Star-Observer a couple of months ago that the Willow River Cemetery Association was in financial difficulty due to an increase in cremations and the loss of support from a major donor a few years ago.
At a Jan. 9 City Council meeting, Mayor Alan Burchill related that while the cemetery is operated by the private cemetery association, the city owns the property.
If the association were to go out of existence, Burchill said, it would fall on the city to operate and care for the cemetery. He said he didn’t think anyone wanted to see that happen.
The cemetery funding was included in $41,500 from the room tax allocated for “city tourism and beautification.”
Other funding in that category includes $10,000 for the annual Fourth of July fireworks display, $4,500 for holiday lighting, $4,000 for the summer Lakefront Park concert series, $2,500 for city banners, $2,500 for downtown flower baskets, $4,000 for the Octagon House, $2,500 for the Hudson Senior Center, $1,000 for the Hudson Veterans of Foreign Wars post, and $2,500 for the Miss Hudson program.
The Hudson Area Chamber of Commerce and Tourism Bureau will receive up to 70 percent of the room tax collections, or a projected $105,000. The Tourism Bureau is contracted to provide tourism promotion services for the city.
The council allocated $3,000 for a community support grant program, with the Hudson Hot Air Affair celebration slated to get $2,000 of the funding and The Phipps Center for the Arts, $1,000.
Mayoral candidate Scot O’Malley addressed the council at the beginning of its consideration of the room tax budget. He asked the council to seek proposals from entities besides the Chamber of Commerce and Tourism Bureau.
Chamber President Kim Heinemann also spoke to the council, highlighting the Tourism Bureau’s work over the past year. Heinemann also introduced the Chamber board’s new chair, LouAnne Reger of J & L Steel and Electrical Services.
Alderperson Randy Morrissette made the motion to approve the room tax budget and gave an endorsement to the Chamber and Tourism Bureau for providing continued services to the city.
Morrissette said the Tourism Bureau has done “a wonderful job” of promoting Hudson over the course of his 20 years of involvement with the Chamber.
The 3 percent tax on hotel rooms is projected to net $146,447 in revenue in 2011, up from $135,550 in 2010.
Continued improvement in collections is expected in 2012.