Destination Seneca County has made strides to increase the amount of tourism in the county, visitor's bureau officials said.
John Detwiler and Carol Yager of Destination Seneca County, gave a visitor bureau update to the Seneca County Board of Commissioners Thursday morning. Destination Seneca County, formed in January, operates separate business unit within the Seneca Regional Chamber of Commerce and Visitor Services.
Detwiler, president and CEO of the chamber, said the two measures of success were to "put more heads in beds" and to generate more sales tax by getting more people to visit Seneca County.
"For the first half of the year, I can say unequivocally, yes indeed we have achieved those particular goals," he said.
Through September, lodging tax revenues are up 13 percent and county gross receipts are up 8 percent, he said.
When Destination Seneca County formed, it started "at zero," Detwiler said. It had no assets, no name, no location and no website.
"I can say through the first nine months, we've achieved a great deal," he said. "I'm very proud of the job we've done."
The agency has a billboard on SR 23 and has created a 64-page visitor guide and a website, which Detwiler said he wants to improve.
He referred to "unscientific" data showing an "uptick in activity" in Seneca County lodgings and museums.
Yager, director of Destination Seneca County and president of Crystal Traditions in Tiffin, said the average person who visits Seneca County spends $104 a day, and people who stay overnight spend about $305 in the county.
There have been 31 group tours in Seneca County, and Yager said she expects five more in October.
From January through September, the Civil War Museum has had 3,752 visitors, Tiffin Glass Museum had 1,803 visitors, Enchanted Moment had 149 visitors, Fostoria Glass Gallery had 207 visitors and Seneca County Museum has had 2,461 visitors this year, she said.
"I think one of the important aspects of this is that you started at ground zero, and have been able to put out a good quality product that certainly supports Seneca County and Destination Seneca County," said Ben Nutter, board president. "I'm really excited about the progress and looking forward to even more."
In other news, Laura Caspari, project developer for Nordex, spoke to commissioners about the Republic Wind Farm project.
Caspari said Nordex is to build roughly 80 turbines, most of which would be in Seneca County. She said the company hopes to start construction in 2014.
Also, Sheriff Bill Eckelberry spoke to commissioners about a request for additional funds.
Commissioners expressed gratitude for Eckelberry keeping a tight budget.
"He's been working really well with our office at holding his budgets tighter than any sheriff I've seen in some time," said County Administrator Stacy Wilson.
Commissioners moved to provide funds for repairs and supplies for road patrols and the county jails. Commissioners chose to wait for more information before supplementing the jail's food expenses.
In another matter, Fostoria Municipal Court asked commissioners for an appropriation adjustment of $10,444.35 within the General Fund.
Nutter said commissioners had made reductions to appropriations in 2010 to all departments, including the municipal and common pleas courts.
"These were cuts that everyone in the county was taking," he said. "We worked really hard to make sure everyone understood what our budget situation was, and what reductions were necessary."
Nutter moved to have the adjustment removed from the agenda until they received legal guidance.