Supporting the other things in city

Published 12:00 am Tuesday, February 26, 2008

The issue: Spending more than $5,000 on Jubilee and other tourism initiatives.

Our position: Jubilee, the market and other festivals bring tourists to the city. It&8217;s good for Selma.

That Cecil Williamson and Reid Cain would support Jubilee might raise some eyebrows, but both men are pragmatists. They know the nuts and bolts of business and what brings in dollars.

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Jubilee attracts more than

50,000 people a year to Selma. The city&8217;s hotels fill up. People eat in the restaurants and line up in the drive-throughs of fast-food places.

Consider that a fast-food meal costs about $5 with tax. Now consider 15,000 people purchasing one of those meals during the weekend of Jubilee. That&8217;s $75,000. Now, say 9 percent sales tax on each of those meals, and you get $6,750.

That&8217;s just a fast food meal.

Consider that a 200-room hotel is filled with overnight guests for one night. The average cost of a hotel room is $100. The hotel tax in town is 10 percent, according to a desk clerk at the St. James Hotel.

Those 200 people bring in $20,000. At 10 percent per room, or $10, that&8217;s $2,000.

The city&8217;s money is almost made up in tax returns, not counting what they&8217;ll spend here in shops or at the Selma Mall.

Tourism is good business for the city. Jubilee, the Marketplace, the Battle of Selma and other events all are worth a city donation from the hotel and tourism tax coffers.

It&8217;s a little more than surprising to hear Councilman Johnnie Leashore berate Cain and others for being interested in so-called white issues only, then deny the largest remembrance of the civil rights struggle in the South the dollars to keep the event growing.

We need tourists. We need to support those events that bring people by the masses into Selma.

Want to talk about good investments for the future? For our children?

Then, let&8217;s put money behind the Jubilee and other events that promote Selma, its history, its artists and its uniqueness.