Agendas and Minutes

Citizens' Budget Committee (View All)

Transient Occupancy Tax

Monday, January 05, 2004

Transient Occupancy Tax
January 5, 2004 12:00pm
Siskiyou Room, 51 Winburn Way

Call to Order
The meeting was called to order at 12:11 pm.

Roll Call
Council Present:
Cate Hartzell, Chris Hearn, and Kate Jackson
Staff Present: Mike Franell, Gino Grimaldi, Bryn Morrison, and Lee Tuneberg
Others: Paul Nicholson, Sandra Slattery, and Mary Pat Parker

Approval of Minutes
Approval of previous sub-committee minutes dated:
December 5, 2003
December 12, 2003

Hartzell/Hearn m/s to accepted minutes as presented.

Transient Occupancy Tax
Tuneberg presented a chart of this year's grant recipients, showing additional information on the proposed use of the funds in accordance with Resolution 98-23 and 2000-25, and the demographics of visitors to Ashland. Slattery felt that all the money granted to the Chamber was used for tourism. Slattery added that the grant is meant for people in business or who want to start a business, specific to Ashland, and tourism. Tuneberg suggested that the Chamber could identify what parts of D, E, and F of the resolution they meet. Slattery will address all categories in resolution. Tuneberg asked for any numbers to use as a basis to help with the demographics. Chamber representatives agreed to meet with staff in two weeks to discuss their total budget and activities. Nicholson added that all of the money that is granted to OSF is for tourism and that they spend approximately $1 million per year in marketing and the grant is roughly 10% of budget. He will provide a financial statement.

Hartzell presented a suggested list of process steps and goals. Hartzell wasn't thinking of changing resolution, she wants to figure out what the baseline is, are we achieving the goals we have set. If they need to define more goals. She explained that the functions are what we expect to accomplish by granting the money to the bigger grantees. Hearn agreed with Hartzell. Jackson wanted to view how new statute would effect the grant process, and that we need to determine a baseline for tourism.

Hearn asked what statute number the legislative material was and Jackson answered ORS 305.824. Staff provided a separate sheet on the definitions of ORS 305.824. Hearn added that tourism is someone who comes from 50 miles away or more. Tuneberg said that the City plans to base it's estimate of the amount spent on tourism promotion on it's intent in awarding the funds for this fiscal year because the state law specifies the date of July 1, 2003. Nicholson added that OSF and the Chamber's funding is 88% of the 33.3%, if all of the Chamber's money was spent on tourism, then 88% of 33.3%=29.3 % becomes the baseline for tourism expenditure. Hearn responded that according to the statute some of the 12% was for tourism. Nicholson responded that it could be more than the 29.3%. Hartzell asked if what they are talking about was the promotion or provision of tourism. Franell responded it is the promotion. Hartzell responded that they might need to clarify that to the grantees. Jackson suggested sending a letter to the grantees to ask them what is their use of the funds. The City prefers to define tourism by using the information in the previous year's grant application and the analysis coming from the Chamber.

Hartzell asked if we should look at 2002-03 grants. Franell said no due to the date specified in the state law. Jackson asked if they request in writing from the grantees what the funds are used for, if they are bound by what they say. Franell answered that they can assume that they would be bound by it unless they have reason to believe it the numbers have been manipulated.

Discussion continued regarding contacting grantees on the question of tourism promotion. Jackson added that when they contact the grantees, that they would explain the changing in the state law of what is tourism and how they think they have been spending the funds. Hearn emphasized the need to be clear with the wording in the statute, that they followed the statute. Grimaldi suggested looking at other sources first, to look at the application, and what was our intent when we spent it. Tuneberg didn't think that the intent on the demographics page did not reflect the tourism specifically well. Jackson added that some of the grants are so small that it would take most of the money to write these reports for us, asked if we need to look more closely at the information they provide. Tuneberg added he would like to have the discussion in two weeks about changing the application and the minimums that they want the grantees to report on. Tuneberg said that they would like to have the applications ready for distribution by February 1 and back from the grantees by the end of February.

Discussion continued regarding the next meeting and it was decided to meet on 1/20/04 at noon.

Hartzell suggested having the other grantees come to the meeting since OSF and the Chamber were there. Jackson responded that she was not prepared to have the public at the next meeting because the committee need to discuss it's own goals first. Hartzell suggested sending a notice of the meetings to the grantees. Where OSF and the Chamber could talk to the grantees and possibly help them with services. Slattery responded that they would be willing to discuss this option. Parker added that by inviting these groups that some of their goals would be diffused. Hartzell responded that she doesn't want to go further without discussing this. Hearn added that it would be a violation of statute to lower the 12%. Tuneberg responded that he does not want to lower percentage, just to change what it goes for.

The meeting concluded with discussion of the topics of the next meeting: when public input would be invited, the application changes, and distribution of the grants. Grimaldi suggested not changing the application until the goals are set.

The meeting was adjourned at 1:40 pm.

Respectively submitted,
Bryn Morrison
Administrative Secretary Finance Department

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