Since the transition team must restructure positions so salaries only account for 30 percent of the bureau's budget, some jobs might have to be eliminated or absorbed elsewhere, Stansbury said. Salaries account for about 50 percent of the bureau's roughly $500,000 budget.
One possibility is to see if the state tourism office would take over local tourism information centers, Stansbury said. Or some of the employees could be transferred to other Washington County government jobs.
County Administrator Rodney Shoop said the County Commissioners haven't decided yet whether to reabsorb some of the positions from the tourism bureau. He said they are waiting to see the final version of the proposed legislation, once it is approved.
Current bureau employees could apply for the newly restructured positions that would take effect in the new year, Stansbury said.
Because the bureau will face some tight financing after July 1, the transition team also wants the commissioners to share the cost of salaries from July to January, he said.
Starting July 1, the bureau will be obligated by state law to spend at least $55,000 on Civil War tourism as a half-percent increase in the local motel/hotel room tax ends. That increase has funded a Civil War tourism program this fiscal year.
The bureau's revenues are generated from state grants, sales, membership dues and the room tax, which returns to 3 percent on July 1.
Marketing goals include attracting more conventions to boost room sales, providing hospitality training at Hagerstown Junior College for employees of local businesses, and promoting local tourism attractions through the Internet to reach an international audience, Stansbury said.