By Dustin Ensinger
Reynoldsburg tourism is on the rise, and so is the revenue collected on each of the hotel rooms located within the city.
Bed tax collections were up by 17 percent in 2012, according to Mary Hudson, executive director of the Reynoldsburg Visitors and Community Activities Bureau.
Reynoldsburg’s 6 percent bed tax brought in about $285,000 in revenue in 2013, Hudson said. Bed tax revenues rose 11 percent in 2012. The bed tax is the bureau’s main source of income. Its annual income through the bed tax is capped at $75,000, so the organization returned approximately $210,000 to the city’s general fund.
The organization was formed in 1989, when state law allowed municipalities to levy and collect lodging taxes.
Hudson has lead the organization from the start.
“It’s still as exciting to promote Reynoldsburg every day as it was 24 years ago when I started,” she said.
The growth is due, in part, to large events in central Ohio, like the Arnold Sports Classic that recently concluded.
“Just this month, our hotels were full,” Hudson said.
Across Ohio, tourism supports 433,000 jobs and generates $40 billion in business sales annually. Central Ohio tourism creates $1.4 billion in tax revenue each year.
Entering its 25th year in existence, the organization will continue to market the city through media and partnerships, Hudson said.
Pit bull debate continues
Pit bull activist Lori Schwartzkopf presented Reynoldsburg City Council with statistics she believes demonstrates the folly of the city’s ban on the controversial breed.
Animal owners cited for control or harboring of a vicious dog – a label the city applies to pit bulls – totaled 23 individuals in 2013, she said. Twenty-two were owners of “pit bull type” dogs.
However, only two of the dogs bit someone and caused injury. One was a“pit bull type” dog.
City-wide, the police department recorded 13 dog bit injuries in 2013. Just one was cause by a “pit bull type” dog.
A member of the recently formed ad hoc committee that will review the city’s law banning the breed disputed Schwartzkopf’s figures, including the claims that there are roughly 600 pit bulls in Reynoldsburg.
Council approved a $90,000 resolution to purchase new camera equipment for the city’s fleet of police cruisers.
Police Chief Jim O’Neill said the current equipment is out of date and too old to be repaired.
The money will come from the department’s federal forfeiture fund. The account currently has $176,000 and the money can only be used for specific capital purchases.