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City restaurant association organizes

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Next meeting is July 17

By Linda Ireland

 As a restaurant tax in Hodgenville approaches final approval, a group of restaurant owners has decided to organize.

The first meeting of the Hodgenville Restaurant Association was held July 3 in an effort to bring together “owners, managers and other representatives from the local food services industry to promote, extend and protect their interests,” according to a news release.

Pat Durham, owner of The Sweet Shoppe on Hodgenville’s Lincoln Square, has been visiting and emailing other restaurant owners who will be affected by the proposed 2 percent tax.

Durham said “nobody else had really said anything” about a restaurant association so he decided to contact business owners.

 “We’ve never really needed one before,” said Durham. “But even if (the tax) doesn’t go through, we’ll go ahead (with the organization).”

Before the restaurant tax could be enacted, a tourism and convention commission had to be established by the City of Hodgenville. The commission will determine how the restaurant tax will be spent. One of the members, by ordinance, will be a person connected with a restaurant.

“We want to be able to have a voice (through a representative) as to how the money is spent,” Durham said.

Since local restaurateurs will be in charge of collecting the tax, they want to make sure “they know what they’re doing,” Durham said.

“It’s our responsibility to get the money to the tourism commission,” he said. “It’s all up to us.”

Durham owned a shop in Elizabethtown for several years, during the time a restaurant tax was enacted. He was a member of the Elizabethtown Restaurant Association and has had experience dealing with the additional paperwork.

“It’s just another check you have to send, like state or social security taxes,” he said. “It’s another responsibility a business owner has to take care of.”

The next meeting of the Hodgenville Restaurant Association is 3 p.m. Tuesday, July 17 at The Sweet Shoppe. Officers will be elected.

Durham invites all restaurant owners to “be involved” in the group.

For more information, call Durham at 735-3558.