Agendas and Minutes

Citizens' Budget Committee (View All)

Transient Occupancy Tax

Tuesday, February 10, 2004

These Minutes are preliminary pending approval by Council.

Transient Occupancy Tax
Draft Minutes
February 10, 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: Kate Jackson, Cate Hartzell, and Chris Hearn
Staff Present: Mike Franell, Gino Grimaldi, Bryn Morrison, and Lee Tuneberg

Approval of Minutes
Approval of previous subcommittee minutes dated January 20, 2004
Hearn/Hartzell m/s to accept minutes as presented. All Ayes.

Approval of previous subcommittee minutes dated February 3, 2004
Hartzell/Hearn m/s to accept minutes as presented. All Ayes.

A. OSF Financial Report Presentation
Paul Nicholson presented the Oregon Shakespeare Festival's financial report. He presented the committee and staff with a document regarding their tourism promotion expenditures. He explained that OSF's fiscal year is different than the City's as the City's is July 1 through June 30 and theirs is based on a calendar year. He stated that of the $108,600 that was granted to them, 100% was used for tourism promotion to potential patrons outside a fifty-mile radius of Ashland. Jackson added that she is confident that the money granted to OSF is used for tourism promotion. Hartzell asked if any of the 100% is spent on local advertising. Nicholson responded only approximately 3% is local. Hearn asked how the total economic impact of the festival for 2003 of $129 million was calculated. Nicholson responded that they look at the total attendance and remove local people and people that do not come specifically for the shows and then that leaves approximately 80% of the total audience. They then multiply that by the Oregon Multiplier to obtain the $129 million. Hartzell added that she would like to see this report annually. Hearn asked if the Time article and the terrorism abroad helped the festival. Nicholson responded that it did, but they did not have any survey numbers that would show that. Nicholson added that the festival is not looking at growth or adding any performances. 84-86% of the patrons are returning customers and they spend the funds on the 14-16% that are not. Hearn asked about the challenge of promoting to the younger clientele. Nicholson responded that they are doing diversity marketing. Hearn asked if the high school curriculum still included Shakespeare. Nicholson responded that with the funding resources failing, staff from OSF is stepping in to instruct and help out in the classroom. Hartzell asked what the change has been in the last two years regarding their total economic impact. Nicholson responded that this year they have changed their marketing to market earlier in the year rather than once the plays start because patrons are not willing to commit themselves as early as in previous years. Hartzell asked if OSF monitors the patrons that come to the plays that also attend other events. Nicholson responded that they do not.

Hartzell asked Franell about the contracts for OSF and the Chamber. Franell responded that the contract refers to the application and the City does not require them to submit an application. Hartzell asked if OSF's contract mentioned promoting tourism and Franell answered that it did not. Tuneberg added that the cover letter that was attached did reference tourism but did not refer to the states definition of tourism. Franell suggested that the City should refer to Resolution 2000-25 rather than the contract, that it is more specific.

B. Compile list of outcomes for 2004 grants
The subcommittee discussed the need to make recommendations on how they want to see the grant monies distributed this year other than it has been in previous years. One suggestion is to choose to emphasize one or more of the six categories of the resolution.

Jackson believes that category F.'s emphasis is to bring people to the City in the off-season. Hartzell added that F. is not correct on the application, that it should follow the resolution. Jackson pointed to a chart from the previous meeting showing how the funds that were granted to each grantee were spent following the resolution. She stated that some of the funds are used to support a greater diversity of cultural opportunities for our citizens and support existing cultural opportunities. Hartzell cautioned against making that assumption and that the grantees might argue that some of them bring people in from more than 50 miles away. Hartzell clarified that she was looking at that in terms of the goals, that they cannot look at all the small grants and put them in the category of greater cultural activities for our citizens.

Jackson proposed to discuss the question of supporting local cultural activities and is it important to the City. Hartzell answered that it is important to the City. She proposed the need to diversify an economic strategy for categories A, B, C, and E. Jackson agreed. Hartzell added that she would like to add #7 to the agenda list. She expressed the idea that people want more money to allocate to smaller organizations. She sees #1 on the agenda as a strategy and that it is the first place to start and that #2 is a tactic. She spoke to possibly distributing the percentage between the categories.

Hartzell asked if the subcommittee decides locally how to calculate the percentages before the state does, if it will stand. Franell answered that it would if there was a rational basis for the allocations and it would prevail until they were told otherwise. He added that the subcommittee should not wait for the Chamber's report to be presented to allocate the funds according to the new statute, that it is the council's responsibility. Jackson and Hartzell agreed. Hearn asked if the state put together administrative rules to help implement the new statute. Franell did not see at this point that there was that authority present.

The subcommittee and staff discussed the problems that the public sees with the allocation of the funds as they are presently. Hearn added that if they doubled or tripled the money, there would still be the problem of not having enough money to go around. Jackson responded that they need to look at the resolution and the state's restriction and see if the resolution now states the way they want the funds granted. Franell suggested possibly having a committee set apart from the Budget Committee that reviews the applications after the allocation from the tax is set. Hartzell added that they could have another category in the resolution for diversifying economic development. The subcommittee discussed adding another element to the resolution. It would have three categories: tourism, economic development, and cultural development. Hartzell suggested that each category has a cap for fund amount that it cannot go above.

The subcommittee discussed the next meeting and the public input. They asked for a display advertisement and a news item on the web page.

Other Business
Jackson explained that Lee Tuneberg, Sandra Slattery and herself met to discuss the Chamber and VCB's budget analysis. Slattery will present the City with a final set of numbers on their tourism budget shortly. Hartzell would prefer to be included in the meeting with Tuneberg and Slattery in the future.

The meeting was adjourned at 1:32 PM.

Respectively submitted,
Bryn Morrison
Administrative Secretary Finance Department

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