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City-county tourism agency considering structure change

By Josh Bergeron

josh.bergeron@salisburypost.com

SALISBURY — The Salisbury-Rowan Convention and Visitor’s Bureau board will meet today to consider changing the way it distributes tax dollars.

Currently, the city of Salisbury and Rowan County each impose a 3 percent hotel occupancy tax. That money funnels into the Convention and Visitor’s Bureau, which uses roughly half of the revenue to market Salisbury. The other half gets used to market Rowan County.

At 4 p.m. today, the Convention and Visitors Bureau will meet to discuss, and potentially vote on, changing the structure to remove the split in spending. The meeting will be held on the second floor of the Gateway Building, 204 E. Innes St. If approved, the change would put all occupancy tax money in one group.

Convention and Visitor’s Bureau CEO James Meacham said the change was first discussed at a meeting on Wednesday. The board called today’s meeting because members didn’t want to wait another month to discuss the change, Meacham said.

County Commissioner Craig Pierce, the county’s liaison to the Convention and Visitor’s Bureau, said it’s important to make a change to the countywide organization before significant growth occurs in southern Rowan, where a new I-85 exit and water line extension are planned.

If approved by the Convention and Visitor’s Bureau board, the change would need to be approved by the N.C. General Assembly.

State Rep. Carl Ford, R-76, says he’s already been approached about introducing a bill in the legislature, but he would not name the person.

Ford said he’s waiting for an official request, which could come in the form of a Convention and Visitor’s Bureau board vote. More research would also be needed, he said, before a bill gets introduced in the N.C. General Assembly.

On its website, the Convention and Visitor’s Bureau already does not include Salisbury in its name. It also uses the logo developed as part of a recent county-wide rebranding effort.

Contact reporter Josh Bergeron at 704-797-4246

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