The Maryville City Council passed a motion that allows the city to add two new positions to the Tourism Advisory Board at its Oct. 25 meeting.
Currently there are nine positions on the board. These new positions would allow more people who live outside of Maryville’s city limits to participate on the board.
The committee is in charge of working with the community to bring in new economic opportunities by giving out grants to fund activities, attractions or organizations, with the goal of attracting people to Maryville.
The motion to add more people to the committee does not require that three members must live outside city limits and eight inside of city limits. It is an expansion of the committee to allow more people who live outside of the city limits to be added to the committee.
Holly Cronk lives outside the city limits but has a significant interest in this committee because she owns two businesses, Ferluknat Farm and Bliss Salon, inside of city limits. She also runs Make It Maryville, an organization that promotes Maryville’s small businesses. She has received multiple grants over the years and is in favor of the change to add more spots.
“I think that representation should be leveled out,” Cronk said. “I think that the verbage needs to be changed so that it's more in alignment with more progressive cities. Places like Jefferson City, Joplin and Sedalia already welcomed this change, so should Maryville.”
The City Council was split on the issue, with Councilmen John McBride and Dannen Merrill voting yes and Councilwoman Rachael Martin and Councilman Tye Parsons voting no. Mayor Benjamin Lipiec was the deciding vote. City Manager Greg McDanel and city staff will write up the city ordinance, and it will be voted on at the Nov. 8 meeting.
Lipiec said they will bring this up again at the next meeting, and an ordinance will be written to decide the change on who can join the board.
Martin said her issue with the change comes with having outside influence on how taxpayer money is spent.
“I have a fundamental issue having people on that board to decide the funds of that board without living in city limits and without having a responsibility assigned to them as far as who they are speaking for,” Martin said. “You don't get to vote, and you don't get to influence the way that we get to spend our dollars the same way that someone who lives here does.”
The money that is raised for the tourism committee comes from a bed tax. This is a tax on hotels that are within city limits.
Parsons said he does not want to rush into changing a city ordinance.
“I am not really excited to support this change,” Parsons said. “We should not be bull rushing through an ordinance on something that, quite frankly, does not need to be changed.”
McBride said he wants to expand the board. He said tourism goes further than the city, and if people want to help, they should be able to help.
“There are people here that want to step in and want to make an impact and want to help out Maryville and Nodaway County, and tourism doesn’t end at the city limits,” McBride said.