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State looking at Richmond Hill CVB
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The Hotel-Motel Tax Performance Review Board, a division of the Georgia Department of Community Affairs (DCA), voted this week to look into how Richmond Hill handles hotel-motel tax. Greensboro and Buford are also being looked into.

Mike Bush with the DCA said "the term investigation doesn’t really apply here. This is more of a desk audit. It has more to do with lack of controls than impropriety."

The review focuses on several areas of the recent audit of the Richmond Hill Convention and Visitors Bureau and pertains to the years 2007 and 2008. Bush said the main complaint was insufficient documentation for $15,043 in charges made by CVB staff.

City Manager Mike Melton said the review is standard practice after an audit and "we can justify our hotel/motel tax. We’ve already done that with the department of audits. Whenever the department of audits sends them (DCA) our audit report, it is automatically looked into."

The DCA report includes a response letter to the audit from city finance director Bob Whitmarsh. The letter said the city is now monitoring the CVB more closely. It also mentions the hiring of a full time administrator, Chris Sheppard, in late 2008. Sheppard was promoted to executive director in August.

She could not be reached.

The CVB has gone through a turbulent time regarding administration over the last few years. After three years of service, Christy Hyer left the position of CVB Director in May 2008. The chairman and board of directors’ seats have seemingly been a revolving door as well.

However, Melton said the Richmond Hill CVB has made leaps and bounds as far as becoming more organized over the past year.

-Read more in the Bryan County News.

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