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City Council boosts support for Chamber Tourism Bureau

The Hudson City Council on Monday night voted 5-1 to increase the Tourism Bureau's share of the city's room tax revenues to a minimum of 65 percent in 2010.

The Tourism Bureau, operated by the Hudson Area Chamber of Commerce, is receiving 60 percent of tax dollars collected by hotels, motels and inns in 2009.

This year's percentage was a significant increase from previous years as a result of a City Council action a year ago. At that time, Mayor Dean Knudson recommended increasing the Tourism Bureau's take of the room tax to 65 percent in 2010.

Council President Lori Bernard explained the recommendation for allocating room tax dollars in 2010 that a special study committee she headed drafted.

She said 25 to 35 percent of next year's tax revenue would go to tourism support and beautification projects.

Local non-profit organizations can receive grants of up to $3,000. In total, up to 10 percent of room tax revenue could be given out in grants.

Money for the Booster Days fireworks display, summer Music in the Park concerts, The Phipps Center for the Arts, the Hudson Hot Air Affair and the Miss Hudson program is considered tourism support.

Scot O'Malley was the alderperson who voted against the plan. He said the city needs more evidence that the increased tax revenue the Tourism Bureau has gotten in 2009 has resulted in more money being spent at Hudson businesses.

Following a statewide trend (but not as bad as in other cities), Hudson's 2009 room tax revenue is about $9,000 below what was projected, City Administrator Devin Willi reported. The city was expecting $152,000 in revenue for the year.

Alderperson Randy Morrissette and Chamber President Kim Heinemann said it is clear business is good in downtown restaurants and bars.

Randy Hanson

Randy Hanson has reported for the Star-Observer since 1997. He came to Hudson after 11 years with the Inter-County Leader at Frederic, and eight years of teaching social studies. He’s a graduate of UW-Eau Claire.

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