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Genesee commissioner suggests using portion of hotel tax to fund police

Genesee County Commissioner Joe Graves says a portion of hotel tax revenue should be used to put more police on patrol. Graves says better security will draw more visitors to the region's events and attractions.

A Genesee County Commissioner says a portion of a hotel excise tax should be spent on police protection, rather than promoting area attractions and county parks.

Commissioner Joe Graves says nearly$1 million is generated every year by the five percent hotel tax in Genesee County. Most of it goes to the Flint Area Convention and Visitors Bureau. The rest goes to the County Parks and Recreation Commission.

Graves says it would make sense to take $250,000  get a matching federal grant, and put more police on the streets.

“Trying to market this area with our reputation for crime is extremely difficult, if not impossible, and I think this is the first step in turning that around,” Graves says.

Jack Schripsema heads the Convention and Visitors Bureau. He says Graves’ idea would be a slap in the face to hotel owners who expect strong marketing support.

Any change in the hotel excise tax would have to be approved by the state legislature.