“I’ve been getting emails that are telling me that if we pass the bed tax increase then people will stop coming here because the rates will be too high and all the businesses will shut down and we’ll all go away, and I’ve been getting emails that say that if we don’t pass the bed tax increase then people won’t know about us and we’ll all just wither away and all the businesses will shut down – so, I don’t know what’s going to happen," said Jerry Girvin, Chairman of the Bay County Commission.
“It’s just not the right time to be doing this, I don’t believe it is the right thing to do." – George Gainer, commissioner.
Girvin and Gainer were the two that opposed the bed tax increase this morning. At the beginning, Girvin said he wasn’t sure how he was going to decide when it came time to vote. Mike Thomas, sensing uncertainty in the air urged that they vote on the 4th cent and table the 5th so as to provide more time for other board members to learn more about the issues at hand. The 4th cent only required a majority vote, whereas the 5th required a super majority or 4 of the 5 members.
When it came time to vote for the 4th cent, Dozier, Thomas and Nelson voted yes, while Girvin and Gainer voted no, passing the 4th cent. They all agreed to table the 5th until next month’s meeting.
Commissioners, you did a very great thing today in passing the 4th cent. We now have the money to broaden our marketing efforts and increase our feeder market potential. We now will have the marketing dollars to draw new vistors to our area that previously had not known we were here. That is important, very important.
However, there is still another very important decision to be made. We need the 5th cent. We have to improve our sporting and special events facilities. We have good business that will leave us if we don’t improve. There are thousands of athletes that are counting on the improvement of our area so that they can continue to come back here in the future. There are hundreds of condo owners that rely on this business every year. Pier Park and other shops and restaurants in Panama City Beach rely on this business to give then a shot in the arm during tournament season.
I don’t think you truly understand how big this business is or how important this particular issue is. I urge you and encourage you to do your homework before the next meeting so that you fully understand the issue at hand. In the mean time, I’ll get with the TDC and Richard Sanders and try and get a clear picture and post it here on pcbdaily.
On another note, technology was in my favor today and I was doing updates via Twitter all morning during the meeting. I say technology was in my favor, but actually, my phone did crash towards the end but came back up after only 20 minutes of suspense! argh
Enjoy the tweets (note, I’m sorry if the formating seems rough and unprofessional below, but there are so many of them, I just don’t have the energy to dress it up, but I wanted you to see all the commentary):
Dozier supports it. The fourth will pass. Will the fifth….. Gervin?about 5 hours agofrom txt
5th cent tabled along with the development plan for 2009about 5 hours agofrom txt
Girven voted no on 4th. Three voted yes so it passedabout 5 hours agofrom txt
Thomas for it, hopes it all passesabout 5 hours agofrom txt
Thomas says that if we do nothing it will be the greatest mistake they’ve made.about 5 hours agofrom txt
Thomas asks to table the 5th cent until the feb meetingabout 5 hours agofrom txt
Says the experts are telling us to do this- why don’t we listenabout 5 hours agofrom txt
Mike thomas asked if there was a dr – he’s about to have a strokeabout 5 hours agofrom txt
Dozier talking. Says people don’t care about a 2 cent taxabout 5 hours agofrom txt
Girven not totally committed which way he’s going to come down.about 5 hours agofrom txt
Also said that if we keep the fee where it is, people won’t come down here and we’ll go brokeabout 5 hours agofrom txt
Said that if we raise the fee people will go elsewhere and we’ll go broke.about 5 hours agofrom txt
Chairman girven talking now. Has heard from a lot of people that were not happyabout 5 hours agofrom txt
Nelson rebuts. We’ve got to get our name out there.about 5 hours agofrom txt
Gainer still opposedabout 5 hours agofrom txt
Gainer talking. Keeps comparing to his car business. It just isn’t applicable. Give it up george!about 5 hours agofrom txt
Motion to pass the 4th. And … Discussionabout 5 hours agofrom txt
Nelson says we need to listen to the tdc and that they know the issuesabout 5 hours agofrom txt
We need three of five for the 4th and four of five for the 5thabout 5 hours agofrom txt
Says bed tax increase is from the tdc doing its job. That they have been making great progressabout 5 hours agofrom txt
Says tdc is not perfect. There are collection issues that will be addressedabout 5 hours agofrom txt
Commissioner nelson talking nowabout 5 hours agofrom txt
Closed public hearingabout 5 hours agofrom txt
Says the businesses should pay for their own advertisingabout 5 hours agofrom txt
Ron shranger. Doesn’t oppose advertising but opposes the way we want to pauy for itabout 5 hours agofrom txt
He is not for eliminating college break all together but taking ot out in phasesabout 5 hours agofrom txt
Mark canfora up. Infinity blu. Says this market is the number one area for growthabout 5 hours agofrom txt
Phone crashed, back up now. Julie hilton, russ smith spokeabout 6 hours agofrom txt
We spent the money on frank brown and it worked. We spend the money on more and it will work.about 6 hours agofrom txt
Owns a small business and said his business grew when he spent money on it. Supports the increaseabout 6 hours agofrom txt
Bill mcneil pres of bay co chamber. Supports the 2 cent increase.about 6 hours agofrom txt
Wishes we could move away from spring break quicker but glad we are moving awayabout 6 hours agofrom txt
Peter bruchae is up. Hates spring break and agrees that we have moved away from it.about 6 hours agofrom txt
Said if we had to go to 15 percent- anything to get our area more discovered.about 6 hours agofrom txt
Says we can’t go backwards. We’ve got the development, now we have to tell people about it.about 6 hours agofrom txt
Knows we exist. Many from back home would like it down here.about 6 hours agofrom txt
Ben kernun is talking. From northeast and says that very few people that he knows back homeabout 6 hours agofrom txt
We can only do it with more moneyabout 6 hours agofrom txt
Leanne leonard from by the sea. Says we need to attract more visitors and. . .about 6 hours agofrom txt
Julie hilton is here, waiting to see her go up- she is not for the increase.about 6 hours agofrom txt
Said it would be a stimulus to our area.about 6 hours agofrom txt
Beth oltman beach chamber pres supports strongly the increase from a business owner positionabout 6 hours agofrom txt
14000 weddings in the panhandle- avg $25k per. We can frow that is people knew about us.about 6 hours agofrom txt
Says tdc is only promoting bringing spring breakers here. Not a very good argument- nor very educatedabout 6 hours agofrom txt
With increased marketing $$ we can brand our destination is a broader scope of marketsabout 6 hours agofrom txt
Joanne banks with diva productions up.about 6 hours agofrom txt
Joy wants lifeguards and no underage drinking and for this to be a family destination- totally agreeabout 6 hours agofrom txt
Joy carlisle- feels like the tdc is throwing money awayabout 6 hours agofrom txt
Opening up for public commentabout 6 hours agofrom txt
Dan rowe back up- said this year is the first that we are actively promoting family spring breakabout 6 hours agofrom txt
No vote puts us in a position to fail, yes vote puts us in a position to succeedabout 6 hours agofrom txt
Less than 2 percent have asked what the tax rate is. He has polled those calling his rental business.about 6 hours agofrom txt
Do we want to support growth or do we step aside and just see what happens.about 6 hours agofrom txt
Bill dozier left, bathroom?about 6 hours agofrom txt
He says that this is something that we should have done four years agoabout 6 hours agofrom txt
If we don’t have the ability to gain more visitors then how can we fill all the new opportunityabout 6 hours agofrom txt
Worried that we will have a bad rental year. We need more marketing dollars now.about 6 hours agofrom txt
Marty mcdaniel speaking now representing 2000 units in pcbabout 7 hours agofrom txt
Mexico beach is taling now- they are hurting and need more money "work like hell and advertise"about 7 hours agofrom txt
They did it despite immense public scrutiny because there was a need.about 7 hours agofrom txt
Buddy is comparing the bed tax increase to the county’s building their new facilities.about 7 hours agofrom txt
Southern living full page ad is over $100,000. Holy cow.about 7 hours agofrom txt
11 thoughts on “Bed Tax – 4th cent passed, 5th cent tabled”
Was there any conversation concerning tax collection, or lack of it?
I believe only 1/2 of the 5th cent was being allocated for sports and special event capital expenditures. Since it seems to be quite possible that the 5th cent will fail, the TDC board now needs to consider allocating half of the 4th cent just passed to marketing and half to these important capital expenditures. This would still greatly increase our available advertising dollars by about 50%, while at the same time providing the full capital improvement amount.
I believe that P. C. Beach is at the end of the road .
& that , only people, that wish to come here . – Will.
Sports vacations need to be created and marketed for locals & guests.
What a great client – healthy people , involved & needing a break.
Pass , the 5th penny . Only then can PCB be equal .
Enforcement of current tax should come before adding an additional burden to those of us who pay. We have already had to reduce our rents due to so many new projects. With all these new towers, how could taxes not be up tremendously??? Do they not get that visitors look at bottom line, and therefore owners have to reduce rates again to meet bottom line for more tax. Less money for owners means more foreclosures and that isn’t beneficial to anyone. Put a larger fee on team registration or something like that to pay for more sports facilities. A pay for those that play.
Now is not the time to be adding more taxes, but most of the property owners do not have representation since we are out of state, so we again get shafted, especially if we are playing by the rules.
I agree that enforcement needs to be put in place, but our taxes are not up tremendously because the tax is levied from visitors, not condo owners. if you don’t rent your condo, you don’t pay the tax.
Visitor traffic has not grown in the same proportion as the amount of new condos that are in the rental pool. It takes more visitors or a higher bed tax to increase the revenue generated.
If you put a larger registration fee on those that play here, I suspect what you will get is those tournaments going where it doesn’t cost as much. We’re not the only tournament destination in the country and we have to be competitive. If we are not, then they will take all the money they infuse into every aspect of our economy (shops, restaurants, entertainment, room rentals) somewhere else.
Now is the time to be adding more taxes because we need to be spending more money getting people here so people like you have at least a fighting chance of renting your condo. You may not benefit directly, but indirectly outsiders will gain an increased awareness of our area, thereby increasing your chances of renting your condo.
Everyone has to remember that this is bigger than you and me. This is about our destination as a whole.
There is a period in Late June and through most of July where I am already booked up and turning people away. It is because of SPORTS, specifically a Women’s National Softball Championship tournament, which apparently recieves little funding, if any from the TDC other than Frank Brown Park.
Now THAT is something we could use more of !
What about swimming championships?
What about a “Golf Tuneup” promotion in the early spring to get folks from the north back out on the links a few weeks early and get thier game back in shape. Daily instruction / clinics at the ranges, stretching and fitness programs for golfers, and special fees at the courses. Course groupings ranging from easy to hard to allow them to find thier game and rise to a challenge. This could go down in March – April…which could nibble away at our spring break habit ? We could also remind them that September / October / November are some of our best months for golf so they have a reason to return then. (which are also off peak).
I feel current effort should be on collecting current tax versus raising rate. Vacationers look at bottom line and with new tax, we will again have to lower our rates. We have already lowered them due to extra availability of lodging. Lower rates for owners means more foreclosures, which is bad for everyone. I am glad at least 2 board members “get it”. Let those who play sports pay. Perhaps you could raise tournament fees or something. Cannot enforce current laws due to lack of funding, let some of new taxes fund enforcement.
Once again as an out of state property owner, we get taxation without representation.
I called or email , most of my friends over the last few days.
With some questions .
1. Where, do you like to go on vacation ?
2. Why , there ?
3. How much was the bed tax ?
Lots ,of GREAT answers for 1. & 2.
3. NOT ONE PERSON , COULD TELL ME WHAT THE BED TAX WAS !
Can you ?
It is reasonable for us to assume that just about no one asks what the bed tax is before making a reservation.
However, it is not reasonable for us to assume that the tax rate doesn’t matter to our visitors. In fact, we are asking the wrong question.
The correct question should be: “Do you look at the bill you receive when you check out of your hotel/condo?” Just because someone doesn’t ask about taxes when making a reservation, they may feel overtaxed when the final bill arrives. And people who overtaxed might decide not to come back to our beautiful destination.
Another way to look at the situation:
Just about no one asks about those mandatory “resort fees” that are now added to the room rate at some properties for things like use of the pool or phone. Just because someone doesn’t ask before arrival doesn’t mean that they won’t feel ripped off and stay at a different hotel/condo next time.
People do care about the add-ons. There was an article in the WSJ yesterday concerning how people are suddenly looking at all on their bills and are shocked on what they are paying. The WSJ calls it “bill creep” where all the add-ons show up in the total.
On the majority of our rentals, the customer now wants to know the final total cost before they make the reservation. Was there not a letter in the media lately that stated that people are upset about a automatic tip being added to their bill for a table of 6 or more? The letter stated that they would no longer eat at places that tacked on the charge. People are concerned as to what they have to pay.
Jason, your point about increasing the fees on sporting events as to hurting business is applicalbe to rentals. If you want to see if the increase will matter, go over to the Canadian Embassey located at Middle Beach and Lyndall and tell them that they will be paying 1 or 2% more next year for their rentals. I think that they come to PCB because it is a little cheaper. They “shop and compare!”
I believe Bryan and LBResort 3 have a good understanding of the situation. The bottom line is the bottom line.
There is a cost to doing business. It doesn’t matter if you are a restaurant, big box store, condo owner/renter or whatever. Each one has its own peculiar costs. And, its up to each to learn to manage their costs efficiently. This includes bringing pressure on the regulatory powers to not place burdensome fees and taxes on your operation.
Now, as a consumer, I have no concern with your costs or operating issues. I’m only concerned with the bottom line. And I do ask the total before I book. I’ve made that mistake a few times. If I have two (or more) comparable units to choose from and all things being equal, I’m naturally going to choose the less expensive.
How they got to be the least expensive is of no concern to me. That’s their business model and plan, not mine. I’m simply kicking back and enjoying the beach.