Butler County Convention and Visitors Bureau
For immediate release.
October 5, 2005
For more information, contact Rhonda Freeze, 513-887-5607,or 513-320-0497
Butler County Tourism Council Helps Form Butler County CVB
The Butler County Tourism Council, a volunteer organization promoting tourism in Butler County, helped craft the by-laws and made recommendations to the Butler County Commissioners for board members of the newly formed Butler County Convention and Visitors Bureau.
County Commissioners adopted the by-laws without change, and appointed 10 of the 15 nominated members to the permanent board of directors.
The new organization will do business as Visit Butler County Ohio and will represent its members and all of Butler County in efforts to “promote economic activity and development through tourism”—the adopted mission statement of the group.
In 2003, Butler County Commissioners enacted a 3% bed tax to be collected by hotels in areas not already served by the three CVB’s in Hamilton, Middletown and Oxford. Eighty percent of the collected dollars can be used only by a Butler County CVB. The remaining 20% is to be returned to the governmental district from which it was collected.
A Founders Committee made up of Derek Conklin, Butler County Administrator; Tim Williams, Butler County Assistant Administrator; and Gary Sheets, Counsel to the Board of County Commissioners, was formed to see that a Butler County CVB was formed.
The Founders group appointed the Butler County Tourism Council, already in place as a volunteer marketing tool for Butler County, to form a Steering Committee who would then draft the by-laws and select members for the permanent Board of Directors.
The BCTC has been the only tourism marketing group in Butler County for many years. As a group they publish a Butler County Visitors Guide every other year, and have produced a county-wide sculpture guide and recently a Butler County driving tour guide.
In February 2004, the Steering Committee began its work and has agreed on a method of promoting economic growth in Butler County through tourism and a hope to work with similar neighboring organizations.
Members of the Steering Committee were: Chair Rhonda Freeze, Trenton City Council; Sam Ashworth, Middletown & Butler County Historical Societies; Sarah Baumann, Jungle Jim’s in Fairfield; Diana Durr, Oxford VCB; Joe Hinson, West Chester/Butler Chamber Caucus; Ann Mort, Middletown CVB; Brian Perkins, Marriott Hotel at Union Center; Dan Remley, Ohio State University Extension Agency; John Renick, Ohio Travel Treasures; Debbie Rulon, Hamilton CVB; Rhonda Smith, Butler County Metro Parks; and Don Carpenter, Spurlock Insurance.
Rhonda Freeze said, “ The Steering Committee spent many, many hours and worked very hard to arrive at a document to guide the new CVB and selected very carefully from a list of potential board members to balance the new group as much as possible among the many geographic areas and the interests of the entire county.”
The major points of the new by-laws of the Visit Butler County Ohio group are:
1. The group will serve all of Butler County including areas already served by CVB’s
2. Current CVB directors plus one other person employed by the new CVB will form a management team to provide services to the entire county and will be non-voting members of the board
3. The three current CVB’s in Hamilton, Middletown and Oxford will offer in-kind services through the involvement of their directors as their portion of the financial structure of the new CVB
4. The new CVB will be a membership organization open to anyone with an interest in Butler County tourism.
5.The permanent board (replacing the Steering Committee) is to have 15 members:
Six members are to be selected, one from each of the following groups: Hamilton CVB, Middletown CVB, Oxford VCB, Chamber Caucus, Metro Parks and Butler County Commission. Nine members will ideally represent geographic diversity and various stake-holder segments: history, business, travel, arts, attractions, education, sports, restaurants and hotels.
Once the permanent board is in place, members will have staggered 3 year terms so one third of the members are elected each year.
The new board will select projects and set direction for the organization. The four-member management team made up of the three current CVB directors plus the new employee will then implement the board policy.
Rhonda Freeze will begin the organization of the new Visit Butler County Ohio board as its temporary director within the next two weeks.