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Tourism growth noted


Fri, Mar 9th, 2007
Posted in Government

PRESTON - County board members dealt with a light agenda at their March 6 meeting. Commissioner Duane Bakke was absent.

Deb Thompson and Holly Zuck of the Preston Tourism Committee offered statewide and county statistics demonstrating the growth of the tourism industry.

Thompson noted the numbers which were for 2005 are always a year behind. She stated that the value of tourism to the gross state product is comparable to that of agriculture. The annual number of people visiting our state is eight times the number that reside in the state.

Holly Zuck distributed several brochures printed to promote tourism on a statewide basis. Zuck insisted that dollars that are given to "Explore Minnesota" for the state promotional literature benefit southeast Minnesota as attractions in this part of the state get a lot of print. Southeast Minnesota Tourism created a clever promotion that looks like a box of cereal with a moose caricature on the front. The statistics for the leisure and hospitality industry are on the back for each county. Fillmore County in 2005 had gross tourism sales of nearly 20 million dollars and provided employment for 682 people. The state received almost 1.3 million in sales taxes from Fillmore County. The total tourism dollars spent in the state were over 10.2 billion. Over 242,300 people were employed by the tourism industry and over 628 million was generated in state sales tax across the state. The industry expects a job growth rate of 17.5% between 2004 and 2014. Sales from the industry grew 26% from 2000 to 2005.

Commissioner Chuck Amunrud noted that the tourism industry is addressed in the county's Comprehensive Plan. The plan lists tourism policies. Among the list is tourism promotion, encouraging tourism businesses, seeking funding for the county trail systems, maintaining public hunting and fishing areas, and recognizing the economic impact of the industry in the county.

MR/RC Waiver

County Coordinator Karen Brown advised the board that Thomas Boyd of Fillmore County Social Services was at the state capital this day testifying before the State Health and Human Services Committee in support of HF 727. State Representative Ken Tschumper authored HF 727, which would exempt counties that overspent their MR/RC (mental retardation or related conditions) waiver allocations in 2004 or 2005 from paying back to the state the amount of overspending.

Other Business

• Commissioner Bakke was designated as the contact person for Fillmore County for the 2008 Minnesota Sesquicentennial Statehood Commission which consists of seventeen members. The commission members were appointed by the Governor and they will "plan, promote, and oversee celebrations to recognize Minnesota's 150th anniversary of statehood."

• A public hearing for the amended Emergency Management Ordinance was set for April 3, 2007, at 10:00 a.m.

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