At its Monday night meeting, Athens City Council members discussed increasing funding to the Athens County Convention and Visitors Bureau because of the city’s transient guest tax.

According to a previous Post report, the transient guest tax, which is charged to guests and visitors of Athens who are staying in a hotel, is six percent of the cost associated with their stay at the hotel.

Currently, the Athens County Convention and Visitors Bureau receives about 35 percent of the money received from the tax, which is the same amount Athens Chamber of Commerce receives. As stated in the Ohio Revised Code, 50 percent of the money received from the transient guest tax should be going to the visitors bureau. 

“I’m glad that we found this oversight, however it came to be, and that we are now following the Ohio Revised Code as it should be followed,” Councilwoman Michele Papai, D-3rd Ward, said.

Paige Alost, executive director of the Athens County Convention and Visitors Bureau, said the bureau feels good about the direction it is going with that large increase in funding.

“I think this is exciting because the money can be used to market Athens and Athens County better,” Councilwoman Chris Fahl, D-4th Ward, said about the funding increase.

Council members also discussed lighting upgrades and the replacement project on East State Street.

The project is a no-cost lighting upgrade, because it uses Federal Highway Administration transportation money, near U.S. Route 33 and U.S. Route 50 interchange. 

Council members also received updates on Athens Public Transit from Hocking Athens Perry Community Action Program, or HAPCAP.

“Athens Public Transit has grown significantly,” Athens Mayor Steve Patterson said. “In 2011, yearly ridership was 62,887, and in 2016 yearly ridership was at 325,175.” 

That is about a 417 percent growth in ridership over five years, Patterson said.

Patterson also said the public transit system broke its monthly ridership record in September with 59,747 riders.

@taylorheddleson

th623316@ohio.edu

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