Letter to the Editor: Transparent to Who?

My friend Bruce Hill beat me to the punch in last week’s letters to the editor.

This is a statement that I read at the last Gibraltar Board meeting:

I’m wondering what the terms of the room tax commissioners are?

I don’t ever recall having “re-appointments” since it started. As with our other appointed commissioners on other commissions, you are asked to represent this board on critical issues, I can never remember one time this board has ever been asked or asked to vote on any decisions that room tax commissioners discuss and vote on.

The reason I’m bringing it up is an article in the Feb. 24 Pulse [about a Tourism Zone Commission meeting where they] suggested changes to the room tax statute could be made to divert room tax money to pay for state park shortfalls. I will say, the article stated Dick Skare did not discuss this with the Gibraltar Town Board, which is where any discussion should have started before it was brought up at a meeting or put in the paper, in my opinion.

We all know the financial impact Peninsula Park already has put on the town’s tax payers, in regards to our fire, EMR, and police budgets, but to offer up the $170,000 or more dollars that we receive every year to a legislature that is more than happy to find other financial support to fund the parks is crazy. Such a move could cost the Gibraltar tax payers higher taxes and could very well impact the amount of moneys that go to the civic association. I also take offense to the lack of information in the quote, “30 percent to fund the Fish Creek Civic Association, which promotes tourism and events within Fish Creek, and the rest goes into the general fund for no specified purpose.” Since the room tax plan was started this town has received at least $1 million if not more and has invested that money in not only our civic association, but our parks and lands budgets, our maintenance budget, our roads budget and emergency services budgets to better service the tourists and make Gibraltar the top tourist destination in the County. It seams quickly forgotten by many, that about nine years ago this town had to borrow $100,000 just to balance the budget, and the civic association received less than a 1/20th of the support they receive now. I wonder where we would be right now and what physical and financial shape our town would be in without that room tax revenue? This town has a lot of big and very expensive projects coming up in the next year, and we cannot afford to lose this valuable relied on funding.

Last month this town board made no motion to send this as a legislative agenda item nor did we vote to send a delegate, so if you follow through on this, which I strongly oppose, I would expect you to do it as a citizen at your own expense.

Steve Sohns, Supervisor

Town of Gibraltar, Wis.

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