Agendas and Minutes

Citizens' Budget Committee (View All)

Transient Occupany Tax

Wednesday, February 18, 2004

These Minutes are preliminary pending approval by Council .

Transient Occupancy Tax
Draft Minutes
February 18, 2004 7:00pm
Siskiyou Room, 51 Winburn Way

Call to Order
The meeting was called to order at 7:07 pm.

Roll Call
Council Present: Kate Jackson, Cate Hartzell, and Chris Hearn
Staff Present: Mike Franell, Gino Grimaldi, Bryn Morrison, and Lee Tuneberg

Jackson gave a summary of what had been discussed at the previous meetings. She referred to Resolution 2000-25, the State of Oregon's new statute, and the 1/3 of the TOT funds that are allocated in this process. Hearn added that the remaining 2/3 of the tax goes into the General Fund and is used for City services. Hartzell spoke of the importance of setting and measuring a baseline. She pointed to three questions: how they can leverage, or set up a process to leverage the funds towards tourism promotion, how they reach an economy of scale, and how they set a percent or aggregate a request on how the money is spent on tourism. Hearn added that they are also looking at how the Chamber of Commerce could help other groups with their allocation.

Public Input

Wendy Siporen/ Southern Oregon Economic Development Coalition (SOEDC)
Siporen presented material for committee and staff. She gave a background of the organization, that they support small businesses, and that their mission is to bring people together to cultivate the local economy. Please see attachment.

Paige West/SOEDC
West gave an example of her personal experience of living in Sedona, AZ and the City's efforts to encourage and support locally owned businesses. She suggested that Ashland encourage and support locally owned business as Sedona has.

Attachment: SOEDC Presentation.pdf

Bruce Bayard/Ashland Gallery Association, Public Arts Commission
Bayard gave a background of the gallery functions and explained how the grant has helped them. They have applied to the Chamber for assistance and now have a relationship with them for the Taste of Ashland. They hope to include more downtown businesses with the next function. Hartzell asked what the Chamber will assist with. Bayard responded that they help with the logistics of the event: licensing, organizing the restaurants and wineries, and promoting the event.

Bryan Holley/324 Liberty
Holley stated that he supports the sharing of the funds granted. He stated that OSF is not struggling but is healthy and the City may not need to grant them any more funding. He added that the smaller organizations could benefit more from the funds. He pointed to the Chamber and what they spend on printing, direct mailings, and marketing. He presented the Valdez Principles and made suggestions on how the City and the Chamber could embrace a more environmentally friendly printing option.

Kimberly Ward/Southern Oregon Women's Access to Credit (SOWAC)
Ward presented SOWAC's mission. She added that a portion of their support is to home based businesses. They encourage purchasing locally and help these businesses to connect with other local businesses. They suggest partnering with the Chamber for customer service, financial support, and marketing. She suggested that OSF could give a discounted rate on their playbills when they advertise local businesses. Jackson asked what their clientele businesses were. Ward responded examples are some businesses located in the A street marketplace, day spas, a photographer, Pilaf, and a coffee drive up. In 2002 they had 89 small businesses that they loaned $90,000 to. Hartzell asked about training help from the Chamber and the cost. Ward responded that the cost is in addition to the membership and some cannot afford membership.

Mark Pound/Rogue Valley Growers and Crafters Market
Pound spoke to the idea of partnering with other businesses in the off-season to attract more business. He explained that they have an issue of finding a downtown marketplace now and are looking for a site or the possibility of transportation to their current site. He would like the Chambers help in marketing and finding a central location for the market in the City. Jackson asked if there were two groups in the market. Pound responded that there is only one. Hartzell asked if they provide training for the buyers. Pound responded that they have a program that is in the initial stages, but hasn't begun yet.

Paul Copeland/462 Jennifer St.
Copeland asked how much money was the 1/3 of the tax last year. Tuneberg responded that it was approximately $440,000. Copeland asked if there was a change in the allocation last year. Tuneberg responded that in September of 2000, Resolution 2000-25 was passed not allowing monies to be carried over and put back into the year they were earned in. The Finance department will estimate a figure and all payouts would be based on that estimate. If the estimate is low, the remainder will go to the General Fund. If it is high, the General Fund will receive less dollars. Hartzell added that the Chamber and OSF decided to not accept $30,000 last year. Tuneberg responded that those funds were put towards transportation costs. Copeland asked if the 12% was allocated only towards economic development. Tuneberg pointed to Resolution 2000-25 and the categories within it. Copeland responded that he has a concern that the City is starving small non-profits and that the larger organizations do not need the charity. He said that it is not about the money, that the City needs to show OSF that they appreciate them in other ways. He added that the funding from the City does not have much of an impact on OSF. The committee could look at any activity that is done in the City that makes the City better as promoting tourism. Hartzell stated that OSF's grant from the City is important for them to show local support when seeking other funding. She pointed to the Resolution in asking how they could leverage the support from the Chamber.

Lezley Sanders/Siskiyou Singers
Sanders gave a background of the history of the organization. She added that with Measure 30 failing, the schools need support from organizations like hers. She asked if the committee considered rewriting the Resolution. Jackson responded that they could rewrite it and possibly clarify the categories within it. Hearn added that the state law changed at July 1, 2003 and they need to analyze what is spent for tourism. Jackson added that they need to define what is spent for tourism in the region and that they are still working with the Chamber to see how they spend the money granted from the City. She said they are leaning towards requesting certain types of things done with the money instead of designated an agency to fund so all applicants are on equal footing. Hartzell added that they are trying to find flexibility and the ability to leverage in as many ways as possible. Sanders asked what the citizens could do. Jackson responded that they could let them know if they should do sustainable economic projects. They would like to justify their decision on the percentages.

Holley asked about the 1/3 in the Resolution, if with the passing of the state law, the City could change the 60%, 28%, 12% allocation percentages. Hartzell responded that was the City's Resolution. Jackson responded that they do not have to rely on those percentages. They want to look at the dollar figure spent for tourism and economic development and that those funds do not have to go to OSF and the Chamber. Copeland added that people could donate funds to OSF to show local support. He suggested that Council find out the figure that is donated to OSF locally. Jackson asked if they could use the assets provided in the grant application as leverage. Hartzell responded that they could. Holley asked why the state passed the new law. Jackson responded that it is supposed to support Oregon market itself. She feels it takes away the local control in tax authority and services the City may want to pay for. Hartzell added that the state is looking at local trends in the changing marketplace. She added that she would encourage the public to attend the future meetings.

Committee Discussion
Hearn stated that they are still doing analysis of the new state law and he would like to analyze what was presented tonight. He encouraged further input. Jackson added that the grant applications will be available March 1, they are due back March 19, and the subcommittee meetings are March 30, 31. Hartzell added that they could be specific about what they want done with the funds. Jackson added that the Youth Activities Levy supports the youth, and the attorneys could advise them if they could use those funds in a broader way. Hartzell asked if they are marketing Ashland or are they marketing the events. Jackson stated that in talking with the Chamber, they have noticed how much they are spending in printing costs and are looking at getting more with each dollar spent.

Graham Lewis/Chamber of Commerce appreciated the partnering with the Chamber as far as marketing workshops, and leveraging the Chamber money towards smaller organizations.

The meeting was adjourned at 8:45 PM.

Respectively submitted,
Bryn Morrison
Administrative Secretary, Finance Department

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