Somerset County pulled in more than 96 thousand dollars in hotel taxes in February...the largest amount since the levy was enacted in 2002.
40% of the revenues go toward a program that awards grants to for-profit and nonprofit tourism-related businesses and organizations such as B & B's, resorts, and historical societies.
Somerset County Commissioner Jim Marker says 30% is dedicated to the Laurel Highlands Visitors Bureau which works on "attracting additional people to our area" which means more hotel taxes. The remaining 30% of the revenues goes to the county to be spent on tourism projects such as maintaining the bike trail on the Great Allegheny Passage.
Marker says the February increase in taxes is due mostly to a good skiing month at the resorts and more hotel stays as a result of the Marcellus Shale drilling. The commissioner says Somerset County is becoming more of a year round destination not just for skiing season because of visitors coming to see the Flight 93 Memorial and the Quecreek Mining Rescue site. He expects the hotel taxes to dip for a couple of months and then pick up again in June.