Tempers flare as Kuttawa withdraws from tourism commission
A city council meeting to decide the future of local tourism got heated after a council member took issue with the way he was treated by the Judge Executive.
Tourism in Lyon County, Kentucky, is a $40 million business, but the county’s out one member after the Kuttawa City Council voted to withdraw from the Lake Barkley Tourism Commission.
Judge Executive Wade White says tourism is Lyon County’s lifeblood, and that Kuttawa’s City Council’s 3 to 2 vote to withdraw support for the Lake Barkley Tourism Commission cut their jugular vein.
Venture River Water Park manager Andrea York demanded answers from the Kuttawa Council as to why they were leaving the council, which is made up of Eddyville, Kuttawa, and Lyon County.
“To shut us down or pull out it seems like there would be a reason,” said Andrea York. “The council members voted for this I’m assuming there’s a reason.”
“First of all we don’t have to have a reason,” said Kuttawa Mayor Butch McCollum. “We have the right to get out of the tourist business if we want to.”
While Mayor Butch McCollum wouldn’t give her a straight answer, council member Jed Walker says Kuttawa’s withdrawal was all about respect.
“It’s a matter of disrespect,” said Jed Walker. “Our county judge doesn’t want to tax the businesses, wants the richest people not to pay taxes, he wants the city to collect $160,000 a year and turn it over and let him come down to the meetings and micromanage.”
Respect that local businessman Wayne Breedlove says comes at too steep of a price.
“I totally disagree with what you’ve done, and you’ve done it and that’s fine, but I think as we go down the road you’re going to understand that you’ve made a bad mistake,” said Wayne Breedlove.
There will be a meeting Tuesday at the Lake Barkley Tourism Commission building at 9:00 AM where they will decide how, and if, they can move forward without the support of Kuttawa city leaders.
At this time councilman Jed Walker says there are no plans for Kuttawa to form their own tourism commission. Walker claims he has reached out to Judge Executive Wade White multiple times, but according to the Judge he hasn’t received a single call.
The two members of the Kuttawa City Council that voted against leaving the commission said that they didn’t share Walker’s views on the lack of respect.