Success! With quiet support and encouragement from the public, plus cooperation from the county commissioners, the financial stonewalling by the Hocking Hills Tourism Association (HHTA) has collapsed. The commissioners have located their 1984 contract with the association that the prosecutor’s office told me did not exist. This contract controls how the millions of dollars of public tax money that is given to the association is to be spent.
They have also started to enforce their 2015 regulation that requires HHTA to submit a quarterly financial report plus a quarterly performance report.But the best and most detailed financial information comes from HHTA’s annual tax return. Since HHTA is a non-profit association, their tax return is a public document, available on the internet for you to review.
Based on my review of the available documents, it appears that we are spending approximately the same amount of tax money on HHTA’s director and employees’ salaries and expenses as is spent on advertising and promoting Hocking County’s tourism industry. In addition, there is over a million dollars in reserve for some unknown reason. When it comes to this association, the county commissioners still have some questions to address, such as:
Should the county’s public tax money be transferred to a private corporation?
Should the county’s tax money be spent to promote business outside Hocking County? (If you review the association’s magazine, you will find that out-of-county businesses are being promoted.)
Should HHTA’s membership policy be changed? It is a private corporation receiving millions of dollars of Hocking County public tax money. Why does a Hocking County business have to pay membership fees to a private corporation in order to get their Hocking County business promoted?
If you are interested in this matter, I suggest you check out the internet to review the association’s tax form at https://apps.irs.gov/app/eos/all-Search and use their EIN# 3121383745, then let the county commissioners know how you feel about this public tax money giveaway. Computers are available at the public library.