West Virginia Attorney General Patrick Morrisey issued an opinion stating that the Pocahontas County Commission is allowed to provide funds collected through its hotel occupancy tax to public libraries as long as the funds are allocated and used for specific purposes. 

Pocahontas County Prosecuting Attorney Eugene M. Simmons requested the opinion to clarify if public libraries could qualify for the tax funds because they offer both tourist information and recreational activities to the public.

“We understand that free libraries in Pocahontas County offer a number of services including providing tourist information, recreational opportunities for visitors, author readings, and a farmer’s market,” Morrisey said. “Under the West Virginia State Code, those types of services qualify the library for hotel tax monies as long as funds are spent on those types of initiatives.”

The Attorney General’s opinion, issued Friday, states that at least 50 percent of the net revenue received from the hotel occupancy tax during the fiscal year must be allocated to a convention and visitor’s bureau if one is located in the county.

The county may then allocate remaining money to a variety of facilities as long as the funds are used for the construction, operation or maintenance of tourist information centers, recreational facilities, or for promotion of the arts, or for other purposes listed in the statute. The opinion concludes that based on the activities of the Pocahontas free libraries, the libraries qualify to receive funds for those purposes.

Read the full opinion at http://bit.ly/2gfoyE3