The law is clear: hotel operators are required to set aside a certain percentage of their profits each month to give to their local tourism council. In turn, the councils are supposed to use the money to promote tourism to the area.
But in the case of the Putnam County Convention and Visitors' Bureau, some local hotels have repeatedly failed to pay their monthly dues to the bureau, leading local tourism officials to call for tougher rules.
The CVB has already gone to court this year to get one of the motels at Cloverdale to pay about six months of past due taxes, an estimated $9,000.
CVB Director Karla Lawless told the tourism board Tuesday night that the motel has since made good on the delinquent funds.
Earlier this year, the bureau took legal action against a Greencastle bed and breakfast for not paying its monthly innkeeper's tax. That case has been resolved as well, but tourism officials are growing weary with such actions.
On Tuesday night, the tourism board agreed to review the state law regarding the innkeeper's tax and the penalties for hotels that fail to pay the tax with the possibility of making them tougher.
Currently, hotels that fail to hand over funds to the CVB by the 20th of each month are assessed a 10-percent penalty, Lawless said. But this hasn't proven to be much of a deterrent locally.
In addition, the CVB can order an audit of the hotels' books and even request they not be allowed to operate, Lawless added.
The tourism board plans to look at the issue at a future meeting and propose possible changes to the rules.