Bay County Commission Passes 5th Cent

With the likeness of a modern game or reality show, the suspense was lingering and drawn out.  Chairman Girvin surely is a student of this dramaticism.  The presentation from Dan Rowe, Executive Director of the Bay County Tourist Development Council (TDC) and President of the Panama City Beach Convention and Visitors Bureau (CVB) was short and not even necessarily sweet.  It was almost as though he was there only because he needed to be.  Not that Rowe was unwilling, but it seemed apparent that this was all part of a strategy.

Last month the Bay County Commission passed with a majority vote to increase the bed tax collected from 3 cents to 4 cents.  In order to pass the 5th cent increase, a super majority vote was required, that is to say that 4 of the 5 commissioners had to vote in approval.  The lack of the super majority support on the 4th cent influenced Commissioner Mike Thomas to request that voting on the 5th be tabled until the regularly scheduled meeting that was held today so that his fellow commissioners could further educate themselves on the ramifications of this decision.

Out of the six that spoke up about the bed tax increase during the public comment section, 4 spoke in opposition of the increase and 2 spoke in approval.  Among the two one worked for St. Joe, and the other was Chairman Tannehill of the Airport Authority.  Tannehill mentioned that we cannot overlook this opportunity to help Bay County grow.  “Everybody asked for it, we’re giving it to them, we need to be sure it’s gonna work,” he continued.

After Chairman Tannehill spoke, Chairman Girvin asked if anyone else had any comments.  “This room is full of people that have concern either for or against this issue, I can’t beleive that nobody has anything else to say about it,” he said.

There were three motions total, with the first two from Commissioner Mike Thomas, which ultimately failed to carry.  The first motion was to allow the increase to pass with no restrictions, the second was to limit the bed tax to 5 years (the same as the resolution), but to allow the TDC to spend it as they see fit.

The third motion was made by Commissioner and TDC Board Member Mike Nelson.  Discussion led everyone down the road that resulted in some flexible conversation on the part of Chairman Girvin.  He seemed to be making suggestions as to what he could agree with.  Commissioner Bill Dozier at one point asked Chairman Girvin “I can’t be comfortable with the motion until you are comfortable with it, are you comfortable with it?”  Girvin: “Well, I don’t know!”  I had to chuckle as at this point, it seemed as though he was being purposefully suspenseful.

Commissioner Nelson’s initial motion was unclear and after many minutes of conversation it was restructured to adopt the Resolution that the TDC approved yesterday and  to approve the increase.

With no discussion left, Chairman Girvin ordered the roll called.  Going through the ranks, Thomas-yes, Dozier-yes, Gainer-no, Nelson-yes, Girvin- “Before I vote, I would like to make a comment.  No matter which way I go on this, someone will be upset.  I have great respect for many of the people on both sides of this issue,” he said.  “However I have to make the decision that is best for Bay County, as these are perilous times for us, and we need all the help we can get.  On one of the sides, not everyone has been completely honest with me.  I think we would be in err if we didn’t at least give it a try for five years, and with that said, I vote YES.”

When his vote came through after a suspenseful comment, you could hear the crowd sigh and almost burst into applause.  Tourism industry leaders could be seen with ear to ear grins as a seeming victory had been won, as if this was some sort of battle.  I’ve not always agreed in the past with the way the TDC has spent money, and I’m sure I won’t always agree with them in the future, but I think this was a good move and an innovative way to move forward.

Having said that, I just want to be clear on how this money will be spent, as there seemed to be some confusion at the meeting that these funds could be used to directly subsidise an airline – and I don’t think this is the case, as it was explained yesterday (someone, please chime in if I am incorrect).

This 5th cent will be used for advertising, in a cooperative relationship with an airline(s) that may have an interest in flying into our new airport.  For example: a string of advertisements in Chicago that would advertise special rates with X airline on trips to Panama City Beach, FL.  This would give incentive to the airline that their flights here would be well occupied and increase the number of people exposed to our beautiful area.

Good form Commissioners and Board members, good form!

TDC Approves Resolution for 5th Cent Bed Tax Use

In what was quite possibly the quickest TDC meeting that I’ve ever attended, the Panama City Beach Tourist Development Council unanimously (with the exception of Buddy Wilkes – who is out of the country) approved the adopted resolution to the use of the 5th cent of the bed tax.  The tax increase is up for vote by the Bay County Commissioners tomorrow morning.

Florida statute mandates that TDC money levied through bed tax collections cannot be used “seat-guarantees”, but can be used for marketing purposes.  Spefically with the application proposed, the money will be used for cooperative advertising with the low cost airlines targeting potential visitors to our area that would use the low cost carrier(s) that would fly into our new airport. If the increase in approved tomorrow this will allow 15 months of time to market to future potential feeder markets and hopefully give a low-cost carrier additional incentive and comfort in coming to the new Panama City Bay County International Airport.

Bay County Commissioner Mike Nelson, who is also a member of the Tourist Development Council said that he thought this would be much more acceptable to the County Commission.

One of the stipulations to the resolution is that at the end of 5 years, the TDC would need to come back to the County Commission to vote on the 5th cent again, otherwise, it would expire.

TDC – Use 5th Cent Bed Tax for New Airlines at New Airport

Today’s special called TDC meeting will discuss a resolution to use the hopeful 5th cent bed tax to entice new airlines to come to our new airport that will open in just less than 16 months.  The 5th cent goes up for vote by the County Commissioners tomorrow at their regularly scheduled commission meeting.

Previously, the majority of the 5th cent, if it were approved was to go to improving our sports facilities and events infrastructure in addition to other capital improvements.

The resolution summary reads:

“A resolution of the Bay County Tourist Development Council recommending to the Board of County Commissioners of Bay County, Florida, the adoption of the 5th cent (1%) tourist development tax for the express and limited purpose of supporting low cost air carriers providing service into Bay County; and providing an immediately effective date. “

At this point, it is unclear whether this is a compromise in order to get the fifth cent passed or not.  The resolution stipulates that the fifth cent will be used to support low cost carriers for a period of five years.  I expect to have more information on this later today.

Related articles

Special Called TDC Meeting to Discuss 5th Cent Bed Tax Increase

Bay County Commission Meeting – 5th Cent Bed Tax Increase

Bed Tax Collector’s Office to Get 2 more Full-Timers

TDC Meeting Agenda – Discuss Bed Tax Collections, Sports Marketing

Bed Tax – 4th Cent Passed, 5th Cent Tabled

Special Called TDC Meeting to Discuss 5th Cent Bed Tax Increase

Monday there is a special called TDC meeting that will precede the regularly scheduled County Commission meeting on Tuesday.  Tuesday’s meeting will include the vote for the fifth tourist bed tax cent.  On the agenda for Monday’s TDC meeting, there are a couple of other points to be discussed, but I reckon the main reason for the “special” annotation in the title is regarding the vote on the fifth cent on Tuesday.

The agenda item reads: “Discuss and Consider for Approval a Resolution to the Bay County Commission Regarding the Proposed 5th Cent. . .”  I just received an email from a buddy asking me what I thought about the TDC changing the allocation of the fifth cent from sports and infrastructure improvements to all marketing.  My computer crashed Wednesday and I’ve been waiting on my new computer since, and have been sort of in a forced vacation, so I’m not exactly sure what he is talking about yet, but stay tuned – I’ll let you know.  I’m not sure I can get behind the TDC if they are wanting all of the increase to go towards marketing, but I’ll obstain further comment until I get the whole story.

The agenda can be downloaded here, or you can view it below:

AGENDA

Special Called Meeting

COMBINED BOARD MEETING
Bay County Tourist Development Council
Panama City Beach Convention & Visitors Bureau, Inc.
Panama City Beach
Monday, February 16, 2009             3:00 p.m.        Council Room, PCB City Hall

I.    CALL MEETING TO ORDER

II.    ROLL CALL

A.    Invocation
B.    Pledge of Allegiance

III.    REQUESTS TO ADDRESS THE BOARD ON AGENDA ITEMS (3 Minutes)

IV.    BOARD ACTION ITEMS

A.    Discuss and Consider for Approval Landscape Maintenance Contract, Mr. Dan Rowe, President
B.    Discuss and Consider for Approval a Resolution to the Bay County Commission Regarding the Proposed 5th Cent of the Tourist Development Tax, Mr. Dan Rowe, President

V.    BOARD DISCUSSION ITEMS

VI.    AUDIENCE PARTICIPATION

VII.    ADJOURNMENT

Bay County Commission Meeting – 5th Cent Bed Tax Increase

Tuesday February 17th, the Bay County Commission in Panama City Florida will meet to again discuss the bed tax increase.  This is a regularly scheduled meeting with the bed tax discussion last on the agenda for discussion.  The January meeting resulted in the bed tax collection being increased from 3 cents to 4 cents.  The 5th cent was discussed, but it was decided to table that decision until this upcoming Tuesday.

If you remember the last meeting, I predicted that the fourth cent would pass but the fifth cent would not.  Commissioners Mike Thomas, Bill Dozier, and Mike Nelson were all in support of the increase, while Commissioner Gainer was adamantly opposed.  Commissioner and Chairman Jerry Girvin was considered the swing vote, and could go either way.  In the beginning he voiced that he wasn’t sure which way he would ultimately go.  In the end, he voted no to the fourth cent, but it still passed as all it needed was a majority.

The fifth cent requires a super-majority or 4 of the 5 commissioners.

You can download the agenda here.

Here are some related articles:

Bring on the Hike

Bed Tax – 4th cent passed, 5th cent tabled

Bring on the hike

In response too a letter to the News Herald editor on Sunday January 11th:

For years, the Bay County Tourist Development Council has discussed increasing the bed tax from 3 cents to 5 cents, and finally the motion was made and passed to do so.  The timing couldn’t be more perfect.  Now more than ever we need to be using every resource possible to increase awareness of our destination.  With increased inventory and overall traffic down, now more than ever we need to be sure that vacationers and tourists alike know that our little slice of paradise is here waiting for their arrival.  Thus, when the Bay County Commission meets January 20 to give final consideration to the issue, I urge a “YES” vote to increase the bed tax collection from 3 cents to 5 cents.

The idea of raising taxes during a recession is gut-wrenching for some, but for this specifically, there is no reason to puke – we’re only talking about 2 percent!  And, we’re not talking about 2% on hundreds of thousands of dollars, the average rate increase a visitor to our area would experience is around $20.  $20!  Opponents make this increase into a huge number that would serve catastrophic results to our area during an economically failing time.  This just isn’t true.

Look, I don’t like taxes being raised as much as the next guy, but we have a growing area and are on the cusp of being nationally and even internationally recognized as a world-class desination and we need to be sure that we are financially prepared to take full advantage of this.  Furthermore, our competition has higher overall revenue/visitor AND a higher bed tax, not to mention lifeguards (a whole ‘nother can of worms) putting them at a competitive advantage.  I’m not even mentioning the other destinations in other parts of the country that have a higher bed tax affording them great marketing and beautification capability.

The author in the letter states that we should promote that we are the lowest bed tax collector.  I can see the ad now: “Extra, Extra, read all about it!  Panama City Beach is offering $20 discount for every $1,000 spent – Vacation in Sunny Panama City Beach Florida and save an Andrew Jackson that won’t even take you to the Grande Movie Theatre anymore.”  Yea, real clever, that’ll work. (please note the sarcasm)

As a destination we have to look at this as a business decision.  This is not emotional.  We simply have to analyze the balance of risk versus reward.  If the reward is greater than the risk, we need to increase the bed tax – and in this case, the reward far outweighs the risk.  We stand to gain many more visitors to our area by increasing the bed tax, ergo increasing our ability to enhance our visibility to the vacation traveler than we stand to lose from an average increase of $20 per 1 week stay.  You always have to spend money to make money – anyone that is a business owner knows that.  I mean, this is a no-brainer.

Recently it was estimated that the new airport will bring approximately 500,000 new visitors to our area.  There are varying factors in making that estimation a reality.  One of those factors is ensuring that travelers in the cities that will have direct flights to PCB know about us.  Direct flights are great, but you have to MARKET to those visitors or they won’t even know the flights are available.  Marketing is expensive – very expensive, and we need to have a dominant presence in our new feeder markets.  People don’t realize how much an infusion of 500,000 NEW visitors to our area would change the dynamics of our local economy.  Everything here would pick up – restaurants would stay at capacity during peak seasons, there would be long lines at the movie theatre, you would have to search for a parking spot at your resort, etc.  And, yes, these are good things as it will mean our area is booming!  That’s right, I said it – booming.  And that’s just with the airport.

2008 was a pretty good year for events.  Panama City Beach has grown tremendously and is truly on the path to becoming a real destination resort town.  With Pier Park alone, we have been placed on a map that we’ve never before been on.  In addition, with the great events that we had last year and the promise of more to come this year, we will become a stronger destination each year in the future.  We need to upgrade our facilities.  We can’t keep doing the same thing year after year and expect the same results.  There was a quote in Rowland’s first issue of 850, which debuted last fall: “If you are doing the same thing this year you were doing 5 years ago, you’ll be out of business in 2 years.”

The quote said “out of business,” “not your business will be slow,” or “you won’t be doing that good,” but out of business.  We cannot go out of business in Panama City Beach.  Our whole local economy depends on it.  Sure it would be great to have some other industry here that supported us in addition to tourism, but there isn’t, and we need tourists to come to our area.  We need them!

I totally agree that a complete and total overhaul needs to be done on the current collection methods.  One person managing the collecitons and tracking down those who aren’t paying just isn’t enough.  I mean, just look at the IRS?  They employ like 700 billion people.  We need to have a team working on our local bed tax collection – funding cannot be an issue, it needs to be worked into the current operational budget – this is one area we can’t skimp on.  This is just another risk versus reward scenario.  The funds that we will be able to collect will more than pay for the increase in operational budget and we will have a more efficient system that is ready to handle future growth.

Furthermore, we need to enforce the tax collection with swift and strict consequences if you do not pay.  The criminal justice system uses deterents to persuade criminals to not commit crime – if you steal a car, you go to jail for X years.  So, if you don’t pay your bed tax, you are fined $1,000 for the first infraction, $2,500 for the second infraction, and $10,000 for the third infraction.  If you don’t pay your fine, a temporary injunction will be placed on your business license and you will not be allowed to operate.  If you are not a business, a lien is placed on your property.  Sounds severe?  You bet, but some people need the threat of consequence in order to obey the rules.  Sad isn’t it?

Another part of our area that is lacking and in need of improvement is our beach sporting facilities.  We have been counseled by Richard Sanders, our Director of Sports Marketing that as other destinations are spending millions in improving their sporting facilities they are becoming a more attractive tournament location for their events.  These events pump millions into our economy every season and if they go away, we will hurt.  If you don’t beleive me, just wait and see – this isn’t something we can overlook.  Not to mention that we were counseled by an independent third party that an increase in facilities and sports infrastructure was required to remain competitive and that if something wasn’t done immediately, we could be at risk of losing events now.

The author of the letter to the editor mentions that if the need was so great for increased sporting facilities then it would be a money-making opportunity for a private developer, therefore seemingly disqualifying this as a valid need. Now, this is just ignorant and plain untrue.  What the author fails to recognize is that the increase sporting facilities will not benefit one entity directly (a developer, etc.), but our destination as a whole, therefore it would NOT be a good money-making opportunity for a developer.  In fact, a developer wouldn’t touch this with a 20 foot pole – why would he?  Public sporting facilties should not be privatized if they effect a destination as a whole.

Commissioners, I urge you to consider the future of Bay County in your decision tomorrow morning. From one business owner to another, we need to make a good business decision and provide a vehicle to generate more money to grow our area.  We have an opportunity to give our area a shot in the arm that almost no other destination has at this time.  We can continue to grow, thrive and bring our children into an area that we are all proud of, an area that we grew through our good business decisions, an area that is alive because we chose for it to be, or we can watch it slowly wither away and die.  This is a long term decision and we need to think about our future.

At tomorrow’s meeting I urge you to vote yes for the increase in bed tax from 3 cents to 5 cents.

Bay County TDC Approves Bed Tax Increase

In a meeting that ended in great applause, the Bay County Tourist Development Council unanimously voted to approve the increase in bed tax collections from 3% to 5%.  With public comment from pillars of the Panama City Beach community, such as Charlie Hilton, Julian Bennett, Julie Hilton and Joe Tannehill, good arguments were made for and against the increase with a unified concern for our area.

The motion to approve suggested that one penny go towards marketing, including helping attract a low-cost carrier.  Half of the second new cent would go to beach cleaning, safety awareness and signage throughout the beach.  The second half of the second new cent will go to capital projects such as new ball fields at Frank Brown Park or the proposed improvements to Aaron Bessant Park in Pier Park.

“I think we should delay, not defeat the 5th cent increase,” Bennett Sr. said discussing that we need to put together a comprehensive plan as to how the 5th sent will be spent.

“We need to work on collecting what we have,” said Julie Hilton, “before we try and get more.”

Joe Tannehill, chairman of the Airport Authority board was the first to comment during the public comment portion of the meeting.  He voiced his support of the bed tax increase and assured the board and confirmed to the board and the audience that the airport was ahead of schedule and under budget.  He stressed that essential to the area’s success was the success of the airport and essential to the airport’s success was getting the word out to the rest of the country that we are open for business.

He emphasized that a growing number of travelers to our area will be from out of the country, but we need marketing dollars to underscore that effort. He also confirmed discussions with British Airways and Virgin Atlantic.

Peter Yesawich from YPartnership presented on why we need to increase our bed tax stressing that any increase had no direct impact on his firm or his firm’s relationship with the Panama City Beach Convention and Visitors Bureau.

His presentation explained that we had advertising budgets that were 1/2 and 1/3 of that of our direct competitors.  He also stressed that we needed to have a vehicle in place to support the new airport and any low-cost airline that may come into our area.  He mentioned that these are perilous times for the airline industry and that any airline would find great comfort knowing they had some financial support here in Panama City Beach.  His presentation explicated the importance of having a harmonious allocation of marketing dollars and capital improvement dollars.

Yesawich said that our future visitors are not “legacy visitors” or those returning to our area, but new visitors.  He explained that we need to expand our marketing reach to outside our traditional market and that we need a broader visitor base.

Buddy Wilkes, owner of Shipwreck Island Waterpark underscored this point in saying that we’ve lost our legacy visitors already and that we must focus on new customers.

There has been much discussion elsewhere and here on pcbdaily that we need to work harder to collect the rent collectors that aren’t paying instead of trying to raise the tax.  I agree and disagree with this.

We need to change our collection process and the way it is enforced.  Actually, that is a false statement.  We need to enforce the bed tax collection as right now, it is not being enforced at all.  What happens to those that do not collect?  Nothing.  Period.  So, how do they figure out who is collecting rent, but not paying the bed tax?  I don’t know, but there are smart people than me that can figure this all out, and it needs to happen, NOW.

Bill Kinsall, Bay County Clerk-elect reassured the board and audience during the public comment section that he would do everything in his power to make their collection process and research to who isn’t paying more efficient.  He said the whole process will be under scrutiny and they will figure out how to fix the system.

Julie Hilton mentioned that she thought that we may be seeing 50% of the total possible bed tax revenue due to people not paying and that an increase may push more to not pay.  I cannot speculate on the number, but I totally agree with her in that the number is probably larger than we think.  We need to figure out a way to determine this.  I also think we need to enable some sort of enforced consequence to be imposed on those that do not pay.

Yes, we need a very comprehensive plan to exactly how we’ll spend each penny of the increase, yes we need to figure out how to collect from who isn’t paying right now, but we also need more money to be sure we are ready to spread the word about Panama City Beach to the world when the new airport comes online.  We also need to be sure we continue to improve our area at the same rate our competition is improving their areas, or we will become a has-been.

The argument that if we increase our rates that we’ll lose tourists just isn’t valid.  An increase of 2% will yeild an increase in room rates of $20 for a week’s stay at $1000.  Is someone going to be deterred by this?  No.  Will they even know about the change?  No.  Tourists don’t ask what tax rate they are paying and they aren’t going to change their mind for a measly 2%.

Good job TDC, Bay County Commissioners, please take heed, we need this for our area.

Related:  Bed Tax Increase Set in Motion

TDC to Discuss Bed Tax Increase on Wednesday – Agenda

Wednesday, the Tourist Development Council will discuss the possible bed tax increase.  

The TDC will hear a presentation from Marty McDaniel, the chairman of the Revenue Enhancement Committee and Peter Yesawich from YPartnerhship. 

Related articles: 

You can download the agenda here, or view it below:

 

Special Called Meeting

AGENDA

COMBINED BOARD MEETING

Bay County Tourist Development Council

Panama City Beach Convention &Visitors Bureau, Inc.

Panama City Beach

Wednesday, December 17, 2008                         1:00 p.m.               Council Room, PCB City Hall

I.               CALL MEETING TO ORDER

II.              ROLL CALL

A.    Invocation

B.    Pledge of Allegiance

III.            REQUESTS TO ADDRESS THE BOARD ON AGENDA ITEMS (3 Minutes)

IV.            PRESENTATIONS

 

A.    Presentation of the Recommendations from the Revenue Enhancement Committee, Mr. Marty McDaniel, Chairman, Revenue Enhancement Committee

1.     Presentation of the Trends and Status of Destination Marketing, Mr. Peter Yesawich, YPartnership

2.     Presentation of Capital Projects, Mr. Dan Rowe, President

B.    Presentation by Mexico Beach Community Development Council, Mrs. Lynn Marshall, President

V.             BOARD DISCUSSION

VI.            AUDIENCE PARTICIPATION

VII.          BOARD ACTION

VIII.         ADJOURNMENT

Bed Tax Increase Set In Motion

Wednesday’s Revenue Enhancement Committee decided to recommend an increase in the bed tax collection from 3% to 5%.  The committee decided based on a fairly detailed analysis on how to spend the money based on the needs of our area as a tourist destination.

The recommendation now will go before the Tourist Development Council (TDC) next Tuesday.  If they approve the recommendation, it will have to be approved by the Bay County Commission before the tax can be collected.

Now, I can already see where the comments will go on this one.  Many argue we don’t need the increase or wonder why we should increase taxes during dire economic times.  Some may argue that increases such as these are partial to the larger resorts/attractions or that the TDC doesn’t know how to spend the money they have, why should we give them more.

But, the reality is that we are behind the times here and our competition passed us a long time ago.  We’ve been behind for a while, and it is time to start catching up.  The TDC and local authorities may not want to consider some things our competition is doing successfully **cough- lifeguards -cough**, but at least they are onto something here.

We are the lowest percentage wise bed tax collector in Northwest Florida, and other areas in South Florida that are competing for our sports marketing contracts are at 3 and 4 cents more than we are.  I’ve said it before, and I’ll say it again, if we want to compete, we need more money.

One of the largest tourism segments at risk here are the sports teams and their families that come here in droves each and every year.  At immediate risk are 2 sporting events currently being wooed by our competition.  They account for nearly one third of all our sports tourism traffic which equals an estimated $10 million in revenue; roughly 60% of that number goes to room rates.

Right now, sports teams that come here for competitions have to travel all over Bay County to play and have expressed their desire on many occasions to play in one location.  The beach is nice, but our facilities are in need of improvement.  If we don’t improve, we’ll lose the business.

Capital improvements discussed yesterday as they pertain to sports marketing included:

  • Enhancements to Frank Brown Park – Add two additional softball/youth baseball pinwheels which would total 5 large fields and 4 small fields; renovate existing south pinwheel; develop one of the new fields as a marquee field with expanded seating and dugouts; add additional parking; add additional restroom facilities.  This would total an estimated $4.9 million
  • Create a Sports Village for Baseball – Develop additional baseball pinwheels, nine fields total; develop one of the new fields as a marquee field; and new parking facilities and interior roads.  It wasn’t clear whether additional land will be required for this.  The total estimated cost (not including any land acquisition) is $6.6 million.
  • Create a Sports Village for Soccer -Develop 10 rectangular fields; upgrade four existing fields to artificial turf; develop one field as marquee field; and new concession and restroom facilities.  Total estimated cost of $4.4 million
  • Create a Sports Village for Equestrian Grounds -Develop a horse ring; build 200×300 foot open air pavilion with dirt floor; grade sod and irrigate area for paddocks and horse barns.  Estimated total is $2.4 million.
  • Indoor Field House – Develop 100,000 foot indoor field house that could be used to expand its sports product offerings to include mat and court sports.  It was recommended that $32,000 be used for a feasibility study to guide the decision making process as to the specific scope of this project and which direction we should go.  Estimated cost of $16 million.

The total costs of all sports-related improvements add up to $34.3 million.

Other improvements suggested include enhancing Aaron Bessant Park to have a permanant facility for concerts and theatrical performances.  The improvements would include the development of a 5,000 seat amphitheatre/concert bowl by building an extended grass-covered berm and developing flat open fields out of the raw acreage that is currently not being utilized at the park.  The total cost of improvement would be around $4 million.

As part of the marketing/awareness section, it was suggested:

  • Revise the schedule and increase the frequency of beach grooming from 26 times a year to 38 times per year, ramping up the frequency during the peak seasons.
  • Add 100 extra trash refuse containers along the beach during spring break at public beaches
  • Add 50 refuse containers specific to recycling of plastic bottles and aluminum cans during spring break at public beaches.
  • Develop :30 and :60 PSA’s to run on local networks on beach safety.
  • Purchase additional billboards to promote flag warning system.
  • Partner with Boomer Aviation to fly red flags behind the plane on red flag days during peak seasons.

Currently each penny garners an estimated $2.2 million each year with a total $6.6 million being collected per year right now.  An increase of 2 pennies will result in an annual increase of around $4.4 million, which would result in an estimated total collected of $11 million per year.  Of course, this number goes up if occupancy rates go up.

The current bed tax usage is as follows:

  • 0.5% – TDC Marketing/Awareness/Operations
    • Beautification Program
    • Keep the Beach Clean Campaign
  • 1.5% – CVB Destination Marketing
  • 1.0% – TDC Beach Nourishment

The recommended usage if raised to 5%:

  • 0.75% – TDC Marketing/Awareness/Operations
    • Enhanced Beautification Program
    • Enhanced Keep the Beach Clean
    • Beach Safety Campaign
  • 1.25% – Capital Projects to enhance Sports and Special Event Marketing
    • Development of amphitheater and special event ground at Aaron Bessant Park
    • Expansion of softball/baseball fields at Frank Brown Park
    • Development of Sports Village Complex
    • Assist in funding on-going maintenance of new athletic fieldd
  • 1.0% – TDC Beach Nourishment
  • 2.0% – CVB Destination Marketing

Click here for a copy of Dan Rowe’s presentation