Wednesday, February 15, 2017 - Updated: 8:46 AM
Cadiz-Trigg County Tourist and Convention Commission board members are looking into the potential legalities of committing funding to a proposed parks and recreation department.
The commission invited Howell Hopson, a Cadiz attorney, to review a motion introduced in the Jan. 12 Tourism meeting, that called for the board to contribute 25 percent of restaurant tax funds to a parks and recreation department. The funding, as proposed by Tourism, would go toward initial construction efforts for a new multi-purpose facility to house baseball and softball practice, as well as community events. Upon project completion, funding would be used for those projects falling under a parks and recreation umbrella.
As proposed by Tourism, the department would be a joint venture with the City of Cadiz and Trigg County; 5 percent of the proposed 25 percent allocation would come from a fee assessed by the city for collection and disbursement of the restaurant tax.
Hopson told commissioners the best course of action would be to avoid long-term contract terms and consider renewing on a year-to-year basis or including an opt-out clause. Hopson said long-term contracts could bind newly elected and appointed officials — and by extension their constituents — to contracts they might not wish to honor.
“In its basics, we’re a democracy,” Hopson said. “Should ... the voters decide next year they don’t like two or three magistrates ... should even this group change their mind about something next year, I think you always have the right to do that. Somebody new coming in has the right to say, they like blue T-shirst for their employees, well we want red T-shirts, and they can just do it. So I don’t really think ... it’s possible to make a long-term contract. I think that’s the nature of the beast.”
Hopson also told commissioners that any interlocal agreement in which they enter should be explicit in its intent to promote tourism.
Tourism Executive Director Bill Stevens said regardless of the intracacies of drafting an agreement, he was supportive of the initiative.
“The whole concept of forming this recreation department or commission I think is a positive move for Tourism, too,” Stevens said. “I mean, it’s a way that communications and events can be better coordinated for us. I think as long as we have open communications — that was one of our concerns with the city and the county and the youth activities and sports, we were so sporadic in dealing with volunteer groups in so many ways — I think that it’s a definite way it can bring local tourism, maybe, to a time where we can do more in help promoting some of those things.”
An interlocal agreement had not been finalized as of press time Tuesday.