Atchison city commissioners unanimously approved the 2021 tourism agreement with the Atchison Area Chamber of Commerce during Monday’s regular meeting.
City Manager Becky Berger and Chamber Executive Director Jim Rowland presented the agreement to the commissioners, along with the Chamber’s Tourism Strategic Plan. The new tourism agreement stipulated that the Chamber will receive all of the City’s transient guest tax to fund tourism promotion and activities. In 2020, the transient guest tax was about $154,000.
The agreement is different from past tourism agreements between the City and the Chamber, in that the City will not offer any General Fund money to supplement Transient Guest Tax unless the tax falls below $110,000 in revenues in 2021. In prior years, the agreement was for $220,000, with General Fund money making up the difference. Transient Guest Tax had been growing each year prior to 2020 when the COVID pandemic negatively impacted travel and tourism related activities. In 2019, the tax generated $190,206 in revenue.
During Monday’s meeting commissioners also approved a contract to build new playground equipment at Independence Park, re-appointed commissioners to various boards and authorized the hiring of the consulting firm Lochner to guide the city through land acquisition at the Amelia Earhart Airport. The land acquisition is one step in the process that should ultimately lead to the building of a new runway. The fee and other associated expenses will be 90% funded through federal reimbursement grants and the local 10% matching funds required will be donated from private sources.
It was the final meeting of 2020, and the first regularly scheduled meeting in 2021 (Jan. 4) has been canceled. The next regular city commission meeting is scheduled for 4:30 p.m. on Tuesday, Jan. 19, as Jan. 18 is Martin Luther King Jr. Day.