Room Occupancy Tax Hike Possible for Haywood County

Haywood County could see its room occupancy tax jump from 4% to 6%. However, 100 percent of the revenue brought in would be restricted and could only be spent on a sports park, an amphitheater or a convention center.

House Bill 412 would no longer exclude “accommodations furnished by nonprofit charitable, educational, benevolent, or religious organizations from the occupancy tax.” This would mean Lake Junaluska Conference & Retreat Center would no longer be exempt from collecting occupancy tax on their religious or educational conference business.

WNC Republican, Rep. Mark Pless, R-Haywood, is a primary sponsor of the bill and said he wanted to be specific about how the new revenue stream could be spent.

“They approached me when I was a county commissioner, when I first got in,” Pless said, of the Haywood Tourism Development Authority, the entity charged with administration of the room occupancy tax. “It was one of the first meetings I had and they wanted to know what I thought about this. I have asked for over two and a half years now almost for things that they want to do with the money and I can’t get any response out of the TDA back, so that’s why it’s set up the way it is.”

Rep. Mike Clampitt, R-Bryson City, also represents a portion of Haywood County and with Pless is a primary sponsor of the bill. Clampitt said he’s supportive of the spending restrictions.

Although the bill was filed in the General Assembly on March 25, there remains a complicated path to implementation.

As a local bill, H412 would need unanimous support from the local legislative delegation to reach the floor. While the primary sponsors, Clampitt and Pless, obviously support the bill, it would also require the blessing of Sen. Kevin Corbin, R-Franklin. Corbin said he’d look at the bill and consider whether or not to support it.

Previous attempts to raise Haywood’s room occupancy tax failed when then-Rep. Michele Presnell blocked such bills from the floor using this “local bill” unanimous support provision.

The Haywood portion of the bill also requires Haywood County commissioners to be the ones to actually levy the tax, just as the Swain County portion requires the Bryson City board of aldermen to establish a TDA of its own to administer the new tax.

On March 29, the bill was referred to the Committee on Local Government.

(Smoky Mountain News)


Governor Cooper Eases Restrictions Again

Under the new executive order, the following capacity limits have changed:

  • Retail stores, salons, barbershops, museums and aquariums can resume operating at 100 percent capacity. All have been limited to 50 percent capacity previously.
  • Restaurants, breweries, wineries, gyms, pools, skating rinks, bowling alleys and amusement parks can operate at 75 percent capacity indoors and 100 percent outdoors. All have been limited to 50 percent capacity.
  • Bars, movie theaters, conference centers and arenas can operate at 50 percent capacity both indoors and outdoors. Bars were allowed to reopen for indoor customers only a month ago, and they and entertainment arenas have been limited to 30 percent capacity or 250 people, whichever is less.

In addition, Cooper’s new order doubles the limits on large gatherings, to 50 people indoors and 100 people outdoors. The indoor gather limit had been 10 people up until a month ago.

In all cases, Cooper said, businesses will be required to maintain at least 6 feet of distance between customers, meaning that some businesses might not be able to reach the new capacity limits.


Parkway Visitors Use Soco Entrance Most

The Haywood County section of the Blue Ridge Parkway saw the biggest jump in visitation in 2020 of any other section along the 469-mile scenic road. It’s the second year in a row that the Haywood section led the rest of the Parkway in visitation growth. In fact, the Haywood section is the only segment that saw an increase at all in 2020. The rest of the Parkway saw a decline in visitation last year.

The 46 miles of Parkway through Haywood County saw a 28% increase in visitation in 2020, with an estimated 540,000 visitors getting on the Parkway at one of the four Haywood entrances compared to 423,000 in 2019.

The Parkway as a whole saw a 6% decrease in visitation. Visitation along the Virginia section of the Parkway was down 21%. The North Carolina section of the Parkway held almost steady, but that was only thanks to the Haywood County section of the Parkway making up for visitation declines along the rest of the Parkway in North Carolina.

Below is a breakdown of visitation by entrance. It only includes travelers who got on the Parkway at the particular entrance — not those who’d already gotten on the Parkway prior to entering the Haywood County section. Counters tally vehicles when they enter the Parkway, and then presume a certain number of people per vehicle.

• U.S. 276: 142,157

• N.C. 215: 54,120

• Balsam (U.S. 23-74): 124,342

• Soco (U.S. 19): 221,884

(The Mountaineer, Becky Johnson)


Leave No Trace

Trash and litter create major ecological and social impacts in the outdoors. Managers of parks, forests and protected areas will tell you that the waste generated by visitors is a massive problem. In U.S. national parks alone, over 100 million pounds of waste is generated annually. Though the National Park Service promotes visitation and enjoyment of parks, the agency is also charged with providing sustainable parks.

The Maggie Valley Chamber is proud to announce our partnership with LEAVE NO TRACE. The Chamber will play a critical role as a leading voice in the spread of the Leave No Trace movement. We encourage our Maggie Valley businesses to participate by educating our visitors, from hikers to mountain bikers, picnickers to backpackers, paddlers to birders, fishermen to pedestricans, skiers to car campers to “Leave No Trace.”

Through education backed with research, one of Leave No Trace’s primary goals is to provide people with the skills and knowledge they need to become stewards of natural areas. Disposing of waste properly is one of the most vital skills sets — and it’s not just a matter of keeping parks visually appealing. Food waste, for example, attracts wildlife and erodes their natural instincts to avoid humans. It can take common items like plastic bags and aluminum cans up to 100 years to decompose.

Leave No Trace works with Seven Principles, including over 16 versions for different activities and environments.

  1. Plan Ahead & Prepare
  2. Travel & Camp on Durable Surfaces
  3. Dispose of Waste Properly
  4. Leave What You Find
  5. Minimize Campfire Impacts
  6. Respect Wildlife
  7. Be Considerate of Other Visitors

The Chamber will have materials available soon to share with our membership.


GSMNP is Looking for Volunteers

Haywood Waterways Association is passing a great volunteer opportunity on to their membership. Great Smoky Mountains National Park is one of their valued partners and they would like to assist in the recruitment of volunteers to support this program.

GSMNP rangers are recruiting volunteers to adopt a monitoring plot in areas throughout the park. In an effort to track nature’s calendar, or phenology, volunteers will collect information as part of an important research project tracking seasonal biological data such as plant flowering dates and changes in tree canopy foliage.

Volunteers may adopt plots that are near parking areas or along trails at several locations across the park. Plots should be monitored at least one or two times per month from the first leaf bud in spring to the final leaf drop in fall, with less-frequent monitoring in June and  July at most posts. Previous experience is not necessary. Volunteers must attend a 1.5 hour virtual training workshop where they will learn tree identification techniques, fruit and flower identification tips and data collection protocols.

Please send an email to GRSMPhenology@nps.gov to register for the training. For more information about phenology research efforts, visit the National Phenology Network https:\\www.usanpn.org.

 


SBA Prioritizes Smallest of Small Businesses in the Paycheck Protection Program   
Steps to Promote Equitable Relief for Mom-and-Pop Businesses 

WASHINGTON – Building on a month of strong results, the Biden-Harris Administration and the U.S. Small Business Administration are taking steps with the Paycheck Protection Program to further promote equitable relief for America’s mom-and-pop businesses.

The latest round of Paycheck Protection Program funding opened one month ago and already the Biden Administration has succeeded in making major improvements to the program’s implementation:

  • For businesses with fewer than ten employees, the share of funding is up nearly 60%
  • For businesses in rural communities, the share of funding is up nearly 30%
  • The share of funding distributed through Community Development Financial Institutions and Minority Depository Institutions is up more than 40%

“The SBA is a frontline agency working to create an inclusive economy, focused on reaching women-owned, minority-owned, low- and moderate-income, rural, and other underserved communities in meaningful ways. While reported data illustrates we have made real strides in ensuring these funds are reaching underserved communities, we believe we can still do better,” says SBA Senior Advisor Michael Roth. “The important policy changes we are announcing further ensure inclusivity and integrity by increasing access and much-needed aid to Main Street businesses that anchor our neighborhoods and help families build wealth.”

These simple progressive steps by the Biden-Harris Administration further demonstrate the commitment to racial and gender equity, reaching low and moderate-income, rural, urban, and other underserved areas. The SBA will:

  • Establish a 14-day, exclusive PPP loan application period for businesses and nonprofits with fewer than 20 employees
  • Allow sole proprietors, independent contractors, and self-employed individuals to receive more financial support by revising the PPP’s funding formula for these categories of applicants
  • Eliminate an exclusionary restriction on PPP access for small business owners with prior non-fraud felony convictions, consistent with a bipartisan congressional proposal
  • Eliminate PPP access restrictions on small business owners who have struggled to make federal student loan payments by eliminating federal student loan debt delinquency and default as disqualifiers to participating in the PPP; and
  • Ensure access for non-citizen small business owners who are lawful U.S. residents by clarifying that they may use Individual Taxpayer Identification Number (ITIN) to apply for the PPP.

The 14-day exclusivity period will start on Wednesday, February 24, 2021 at 9 a.m., while the other four changes will be implemented by the first week of March. The SBA is working on the program changes and will communicate details throughout this week.

These actions will help to lay the foundation for a robust and equitable recovery for small businesses across the country. Small businesses employ nearly half of the American workforce; they create 2 out of 3 net new private-sector jobs; they reinvest 68% of revenues to build and sustain communities. Borrowers can apply for the Paycheck Protection Program by downloading the First Draw PPP loan application or Second Draw PPP loan application and working with a participating PPP lender through the SBA Lender Match tool.

Through SBA’s nationwide district offices, the Agency will work in close partnership with the Administration to further leverage its resource partner network and expand on multilingual access and outreach about the PPP. Updated PPP information, including forms, guidance, and resources is available at www.sba.gov/pppand www.treasury.gov/cares.

For more information on PPP Reform:  Biden Administration PPP Reform Fact Sheets (sba.gov)  https://www.sba.gov/document/support-biden-administration-ppp-reform-fact-sheets

About the U.S. Small Business Administration

The U.S. Small Business Administration makes the American dream of business ownership a reality. As the only go-to resource and voice for small businesses backed by the strength of the federal government, the SBA empowers entrepreneurs and small business owners with the resources and support they need to start, grow, or expand their businesses, or recover from a declared disaster. It delivers services through an extensive network of SBA field offices and partnerships with public and private organizations. To learn more, visit www.sba.gov


Rest In Peace, Dale

It is with heavy hearts that we at Wheels Through Time let you know that our beloved founder, curator, and friend Dale Walksler passed away peacefully, with his wife by his side, at home on February 3, 2021, after a courageous four year battle with cancer.

In 1967 at the age of 15, Dale built his first motorcycle, sparking a life-long love affair with American Motorcycles and their history. At 22, Dale established a Harley/Davidson Franchise in Mt. Vernon, Ill: Dale’s Harley-Davidson. His signal success as a dealer grew to include the decades-long work that would define his life: the creation of the museum we now know as Wheels Through Time.

As the museum collection grew, so too did Dale’s vision for the museum, his reputation, his mechanical and curatorial skills, and a goal of always exceeding expectations of customers and guests.

In 2002 Dale opened the Wheels Through Time Museum in Maggie Valley, NC. From humble beginnings in a small Illinois town, one of the world’s premier collections of rare and vintage American motorcycles, automobiles, and memorabilia emerged. Wheels Through Time became an Iconic American Institution and known internationally.

Those who have visited Wheels Through Time know that Dale’s passion was not just something to be observed but rather experienced. Whether it was listening to his vast knowledge and stories of transportation history or watching him start a motorcycle, his was a passion that was infectious. It inspired in many, that same desire to preserve and celebrate American motorcycle history. His genius rested on the latter portion of the Wheels Through Time logo, “The Museum That Runs.”

Dale was a man of vision, zeal, intensity, imagination, and generosity. He will be deeply missed by his family, friends, and the staff at Wheels Through Time, and as well as by the countless tens of thousands who have visited the museum.

Dale’s vision was not just one of preserving the past but was also focused on the future. In that regard, he made great strides to ensure that the museum and his legacy would carry on for generations to come.

A celebration of Dale’s life will be announced at a later date. At this time, we ask for privacy for the family as they mourn his passing. At Dale’s request, in lieu of flowers, please send any donations and condolences to Wheels Through Time, PO Box 790, Maggie Valley, NC 28751.

All donations will be dedicated to ensuring the continuance of the legacy that Dale created far into the future and to giving museum visitors historical insight into the vital role that transportation has played in American history. The thrill of hearing the cycles run coupled with thoughts of riding into the wind will continue to evoke thoughts of Dale’s vibrant spirit — and his dream.

The Economic Aid to Hard-Hit Small Businesses,
Nonprofits, and Venues Act

This $325 billion title would provide additional assistance to the hardest-hit small businesses, nonprofits, and venues that are struggling to recover from the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic. The title would provide funding for a second round of forgivable loans through the Paycheck Protection Program for small businesses and nonprofits experiencing significant revenue losses, make programmatic improvements to PPP, fund grants to shuttered venues, and enact emergency enhancements to other SBA lending programs. This critical assistance will provide small business owners with the capital they need to survive the pandemic and includes critical resources for the smallest businesses.
Paycheck Protection Program Second Draw Loans:
– Creates a second round of PPP loans for eligible businesses.
–  Defines eligibility for the PPP second draw as small businesses that have no more than 300 employees and demonstrate at least a 25 percent reduction in gross revenues between comparable quarters in 2019 and 2020.
– Establishes a maximum loan size of 2.5X average monthly payroll costs, up to $2 million.
– Allows small businesses assigned to the industry NAICS code 72 (Accommodation and Food Services) to receive PPP second draw loans equal to 3.5X average monthly payroll costs in order to helps these businesses combat onerous State and local restrictions.
– Maintains existing expansions in eligibility for businesses assigned to the industry NAICS code 72 (Accommodation and Food Services).
– Borrowers receive full loan forgiveness if they spend at least 60 percent of their PPP second draw loan on payroll costs over a time period of their choosing between 8 weeks and 24 weeks.
– Affirms the eligibility of churches and religious organizations and prohibits a future administration from making them ineligible.
– Preserves the application of affiliation rules to nonprofits, which makes Planned Parenthood ineligible.
– Includes set-asides to support first-time PPP borrowers with 10 or fewer employees, second-time PPP borrowers with 10 or fewer employees, first-time PPP borrowers who have been made newly eligible, and second-time returning PPP borrowers. Additionally, provides for a set-aside for loans made by community lenders.
Paycheck Protection Program Improvements:
–  Expands PPP allowable and forgivable expenses to include supplier costs on existing contracts and purchase orders, including the cost for perishable goods at any time, costs relating to worker protective equipment and adaptive costs, and technology operations expenditures.
– Provides needed assurances to PPP lenders that no enforcement action could be taken against a lender who originated the loan in good faith, complied with all regulations, and relied in good faith on a borrower’s certification and documentation.
– Enhances borrower flexibility by allowing borrowers to select their loan forgiveness covered period between 8 weeks and 24 weeks.
–  Simplifies the forgiveness application process for smaller loans up to $150,000 while increasing SBA’s ability to audit and review forgiven loans.
–  Allows PPP borrowers to include additional group insurance payments when calculating their PPP payroll costs. This would cover insurance plans such as vision, dental, disability and life insurance.
–  Allows borrowers who returned all or part of their PPP loan to reapply for the maximum amount applicable. It also allows lenders to recalculate borrower’s loan amounts due to changes in regulations regardless of whether SBA Form 1502 has been submitted.
–  Establishes the loan amount calculation for farmers and ranchers to better align with recent years’ income.
–  Provides Farm Credit System Institutions with greater certainty and equity in PPP lending participation.
– Defines “seasonal employer.”
– Expands PPP eligibility for certain 501(c)(6) nonprofits and Destination Marketing Organizations with 300 or fewer employees that do not receive more than 15 percent of their revenue from lobbying.
–  Expands PPP eligibility to local newspapers and T.V., and radio stations previously made ineligible by their affiliation with other stations.
The Economic Aid to Hard-Hit Small Businesses, Nonprofits, and Venues Act
–  Establishes a procedure in the bankruptcy process if the Administrator determines certain small business debtors in Chapter 11 are eligible for PPP loans.
–  Eliminates the requirement that EIDL advances be subtracted from PPP forgiveness.
Emergency Enhancements to SBA’s Lending Programs
– Temporarily enhances the terms of the 7(a) loan program by increasing the loan guarantee to 90 percent and offering reduced or no fees for the borrower and the lender. Additionally, it would temporarily increase the 7(a) express loan limit and loan guarantee to provide access to needed working capital.
– Temporarily eliminates fees for the 504 loan program and favorable terms for refinancing loans.
– Increases the aggregate loan limit for microloan intermediaries in order to ensure intermediaries have increased capacity to make loans to underserved and underbanked borrowers.
–  Extends the Small Business Debt Relief program, Section 1112 of the CARES Act, which would defer payments of principal and interest on new and existing SBA 7(a), 504, and Microloan programs for eligible entities.
Increased Transparency and Accountability in SBA Programs:
– Mitigates fraud by requiring new measures for the SBA to verify eligibility for EIDL Advance grants.
– Appropriates $20 million to the SBA Inspector General to prevent fraud, waste, and abuse in the Targeted EIDL Advance grant program.
– Increases transparency of SBA’s PPP forgiveness audit and review process by requiring the SBA to submit a detailed forgiveness audit plan to Congress within 30 days of enactment. Appropriates $50 million to support SBA’s PPP audit authority.
– Requires the SBA Administrator and the Secretary of the Treasury to testify within 120 days of enactment and twice a year for two years to the Senate and House Small Business Committees.
– Requires the SBA to comply with GAO requests within 15 days unless the Administrator provides the Senate and House Small Business Committees with a detailed justification for the inability of the Administrator to comply.
–  Codifies the list of ineligible businesses for PPP, which includes: publicly-traded businesses; entities listed in 13 C.F.R. 120.110 except for entities from that regulation which have otherwise been made eligible by statute or guidance; entities affiliated with entities in the People’s Republic of China; registrants under the Foreign Agents Registration Act; and entities that are receiving a grant under the live venues grant program.
–  Prohibits PPP loan proceeds to be used for lobbying activities.
– Requires the President, Vice President, the head of an Executive department, or a Member of Congress as well as their spouse to disclose this status when receiving forgiveness on a Paycheck Protection Program initial loan. Prohibits these individuals from obtaining a future PPP loan.
Support for Venues:
–  Establishes a $15 billion grant program to support shuttered live venues, theaters, museums, and zoos that have experienced significant revenue losses.
–  Provides enhanced verification and requires increased transparency of SBA’s oversight plans to ensure funds are directly benefiting eligible entities.
Increased Appropriations: $325 billion
–  $284.45 billion for Paycheck Protection Program Second Draw Loans.
–  $25 million for Minority Business Development Centers under the Minority Business Development Agency (MBDA) to assist minority business enterprises with technical assistance, such as applying for PPP.
–  $50 million to SBA for PPP auditing and fraud mitigation purposes.
–  $15 billion for grants for shuttered live venues, theaters, museums, and zoos.
– $20 billion for the EIDL Advance program, of which $20 million is for the SBA Inspector General.
– $3.5 billion for continuing the Section 7(a) Debt Relief program.
–  $2 billion to carry out SBA lending enhancements.

The Economic Aid to Hard-Hit Small Businesses, Nonprofits, and Venues Act
Of this amount, $57 million for the Microloan program for technical assistance and direct lending to underserved borrowers.
Rescission of Unobligated Funds: $146 billion
– Rescinds $137.5 billion in unobligated funds from PPP.
– Rescinds $9 billion in unobligated funds from Section 1112 of the CARES Act.



ELEVATED MOUNTAIN  Distilling Company


LIVE ENTERTAINMENT!!

Check out their FaceBook page for more details.

Food Truck on site, serving beer, wine and cocktails


Chamber Website Statistics – March 2021
Website Visits: 104,137
Top Pages: Attractions, Lodging, Elk
Visitor Guide Viewed On Line: 2,557
Maggie Valley Festival Grounds website views: 35,427

Chamber Website Statistics – February 2021
Website Visits: 94,953
Top Pages: Attractions, Lodging, Weather
Visitor Guide Viewed On Line: 1,722
Maggie Valley Festival Grounds website views: 33,990

 


WELCOME NEW MEMBERS!!

Valley RV Repair

Valley Tavern, Business Partner

Roses in the Valley Florist, Business Partner

Fox Web Design & Computer Service, Premier Partner

Scott’s Automotive & Lockout, Community Partner


Maggie Valley Festival Grounds Schedule

Visit this page often for the latest information on Festivals and Events held at the Maggie Valley Festival Grounds.

www.maggievalleyfestivalgrounds.com


RISE and SHINE

1st Tuesday of Each Month

9:00 a.m.

Next meeting unknown  —  Stay tuned!