An open letter to Red Oak’s city council, mayor

EDITOR’S NOTE: The following letter was submitted to Red Oak’s City Council and Mayor before last week’s meeting, which included discussion of a possible hotel/motel tax.

To the Members of the Red Oak City Council and Mayor Billings:

Based on the fact the Red Oak City Council is considering asking the citizens of Red Oak to vote on establishing a Hotel/Motel Tax, we would ask that you place this issue before the voters on the November ballot, rather than a special election. It is most important that our member organizations and the voting public have adequate time to fully understand how the funds will benefit our community, the process that will be put in place for allocation of tax moneys collected, and how this tax will benefit our business community.

As has been evidenced by previous special elections for the school bond issue and the Montgomery County Law Enforcement Center, a well thought out process of informing the public is key to understanding and eventual passage. Moving too quickly without community input and dialog, has in the past, hurt passage efforts.

We would encourage the Council to support the commitment of 100 percent of the funds collected to increasing programming and promotional efforts by Red Oak organizations to bring about cultural, recreational, entertainment and new tourism initiatives that will bring more guests and visitors to our community.

To ensure that the Hotel/Motel tax distribution plan is fair and equitable, we propose the establishment of a committee made up of the listed organizations, and including a representative from the retail sector, the restaurant industry, city government and a community citizen.

This committee would work together to create a plan for fund distribution that will be presented to the council for their adoption prior to a vote of the people.

We feel it is most important that the community fully understands how the funds are going to be allocated.

Upon agreement by the Council that the above requests can be implemented, our organizations are prepared to be part of a strong effort to educate and inform our community and have constructive dialog with our citizens that will lead to a positive outcome for the vote.

We urge you to support the thoughts set forth or enter into discussion that will lead to a successful election outcome for all the citizens and businesses of Red Oak.

Tourism is one of the keys to our communities' viable future, and collaboration is key to this initiative being passed by our voters.

Submitted by

Phil Lamb, President, Friends of the Red Oak Trail        

Randy Orme, Red Coach Inn    

Jim Hoskinson, President, Touchstone Arts Council

Paul Griffen, President, Wilson Performing Arts Center

Allen E. Pohren, President, Red Oak Chamber and Industry Association

The Red Oak Express

2012 Commerce Drive
P.O. Box 377
Red Oak, IA 51566
Phone: 712-623-2566 Fax: 712-623-2568

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