Pineville Mayor Sherwin Rader attended the Bell County Tourism Commission meeting on Tuesday to give an update on the Wasioto Winds Hotel project.
Rader stated the city and tourism commission currently have an agreed order that needs to be amended to proceed with the hotel project.
The agreed order was put into place several years ago and involves the restaurant tax revenue. The agreed order states revenue gained from the restaurant tax was to be used for the debt acquired by the golf course.
The debt on the golf course was paid off in December. Now the agreed order states the money was to be turned over to the tourism board, which passed a motion last year to allow the restaurant tax money to be used for the hotel.
Pineville City attorney John Gambrel made the request to continue the agreed order with the amendment in place to fund the hotel and development of the state park area. In conjunction with the state park development, Gambrel said the city of Pineville is about 75 percent of the way through annexing the state park into the city limits.
If the amendment is put into place, Gambrel said the first step would be to use the money to pay the state to move the forestry building. Gambrel estimated it would cost between $500,000 to $1 million to move the Department of Forestry.
Bell County Tourism Director Judy Barton questioned what would happen if the hotel doesn’t become a reality and the amendment states the money be put toward the hotel.
Gambrel agreed that was a justifiable question, stating there needs to be something placed in the amendment addressing the issue.
The commission passed a motion to establish a committee to work with Gambrel on the amendment so it satisfies both parties.
The three members from the commission who will be on the committee are Steven Sharp, Mike Long and Steven Easton. Gambrel stated the decision on amending the agreed order needs to be done quickly.
Rader also spoke briefly on the attorney general’s decision about restaurant tax money being used for hotels. Rader said she received a letter from the Office of the Attorney General stating the restaurant tax money can be used for the hotel project.
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