Top Ten:TDC

Walter Armistead Photo available for purchase

Walter Armistead

Lois Swoboda
Published: Monday, December 30, 2013 at 14:12 PM.

The Franklin County Tourist Development Council (TDC) failed in a bid to double the bed tax in 2013, listened to criticism from fishing guides and fought over a vacant seat on the TDC board.

At their regular April 3 meeting of the TDC, Director Curt Blair and Chair Pinki Jackel began a push to double the 2 percent bed tax collected by local short-term lodging providers.

Blair opened the meeting by cautioning that, “Without an influx of funds, we are set for what we can do for the rest of the fiscal year.” He bemoaned the loss of funding from BP after the oil spill crisis passed.

Jackel distributed information on the growth of tourism in the county and the bed tax charged in surrounding counties to TDC members. She argue the existing bed tax had led to an increase of 60 percent in tourist activities and allowed the TDC to distribute $2 million to not for profit organizations.

“If we have done all this with the 2 percent we collect, what can we do with more? If we increase it by 2 percent, that will be an additional $800,000 per year,” she said.

Jackel received universal support from the TDC board members.

The TDC had two possible routes to win approval for the tax hike, it could be voted on by the public or it could be approved by the county commission. Board members chose the latter route. Because of the size of the increase, the measure would require a super majority vote of at least 4-1 to pass.

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