DAYTON, Tenn. — Rhea County commissioners agreed in principle last week to support a Bass Masters fishing tournament in May 2013, but they raised questions about continued support for the county's Economic and Tourism Council.
The discussion began during the budget committee meeting before the full commission met Tuesday. Committee Chairman Ron Masterson questioned whether the hotel-motel tax fund could provide the county's $30,000 share of the $60,000 tournament cost.
At the same time, commission Chairman Jim Reed, who also is a budget committee member, said the commission should consider reducing the portion of the tax allocated to the Rhea Economic and Tourism Council. By law, the county contributes three-fifths of the tax to the council and keeps the balance to support special projects such as the fishing tournament.
"We're shelling out 60 percent of the [hotel-motel tax] money, but we're not getting 60 percent worth out of it," Reed said. "That's just something that needs to be done — cut back."
During the full commission meeting, commissioners agreed to support the tournament, contingent on a similar commitment from the city of Dayton.
Dayton City Councilman Gary Louallen, who has spearheaded efforts to attract tournaments such as Bass Masters, told commissioners, "It's all contingent on both parties agreeing to do it to even make the application" to host the tournament.
Commissioners also authorized County Executive George Thacker to submit applications to the state firefighters assistance grant program for $275,000 and for $514,405.
The smaller grant, if approved, would be used to replace the tanker truck used by the Frazier Fire Department. The larger would be used to buy a thermal camera and turnout gear for volunteer firefighters. Both grants carry a 5-percent-match requirement.
Tom is the director of public information at Bryan College and has been in the Dayton community for 30 years.