ALBANY, GA (WALB) - Tourism has a $220 million annual impact on Dougherty County and the Albany Convention and Visitors Bureau (CVB) promotes tourism with a budget of $725 thousand a year.
A recent study suggested that amount should go up and that the CVB should separate itself from the Chamber of Commerce.
City leaders are now looking at those options and asking for a voice at the tourism table.
Big events bring in big dollars to Dougherty County.
"We are a central hub for SWGA, all the hotels, events, and we need to build on them for economic development," said city commissioner Roger Marietta. "They are doing a great job promoting tourism but I think we could do it more I think we can do more promotion of tourism, honestly, and so they need money for that."
Right now, the CVB is funded with hotel tax dollars and they are managed by the Chamber at a cost of 3% of the Chamber's budget.
Barbara Rivera Holmes, Chamber and CVB President said, "we have done a great job as a Chamber and CVB managing them together."
"If they divorce themselves they will have more funding, more bang for the buck," explained Marietta.
But changing the hotel tax legislation to increase CVB funding is complicated.
"I think local legislation will have to be amended to increase their funds because they are capped at $725 thousand," said Marietta.
Mayor Dorothy Hubbard said "we in the city decided we would use part of the funds for the civic center."
The civic center gets a big chunk of hotel tax dollars right now and the Mayor said that how the money is spent needs a second look.
"And, I am sure there will be a discussion, as a matter of fact I will make sure there is a discussion that looks at the study and whether we are following the rules," said Mayor Hubbard.
Mayor Hubbard also said that the city attorney is investigating how hotel tax dollars are being used.
Commissioners Marietta and Postell both said they would like to see a city representative on the CVB board. The Chamber's President says more participation from the city is a good thing, and welcomes the discussion.