Commissioner Karla White said that the Downtown Merchants’ Association paid for part of the cost of the sign for several years. Grant money provided the balance of the cost. In the past, she suggested that the association might turn the billboard’s operation and management to the tourism commission with the association paying the commission 20 percent of the total cost, with the balance paid by state matching grants. State tourism promises 80/20 percent matching if local initiatives follow state guidelines.
White said that the association’s membership had not helped share the expenses of the sign, and could no longer afford the cost.
The commission previously agreed to request that the Chamber of Commerce, city of Cadiz and Tourism Commission pay for the sign that promotes “six antique shops.”
Commissioner Greg Bates said that much of the commission’s funding comes from transient taxes and believed that other businesses and attractions needed to be included on the sign, not just the antique shops.
“I like the idea of the sign and having tourism pay for it, but it may need more on it,” said Commissioner Alan Watts.
Chairman John Rufli said, “The merchants’ association took the initiative with the sign, but the membership has quit contributing to support it. They are partnering with the chamber, city and tourism, which want to take it over, but still dictate what is on the sign. There are other things that pull visitors to Trigg County. Along with antiques, we have fishing, museums, places to eat and other drawing cards. It is important we not appear to promote one segment over any others.”
Tourism Director Charles Simpson acknowledged the source of funding. “We need to be aware of the heads in the beds. It’s where our money comes from. If we open the door for one industry, we would be expected to do it for all.”
For the rest of this story, read this week's Cadiz Record.