PTC to consider tourism budget

Thursday night the Peachtree City Council is expected to sign off on the $532,021 proposed budget for the city’s newly-named Convention and Visitors Bureau, formerly known as the Peachtree City Tourism Association.

The proposed budget shows the CVB spending $273,204 on sales, marketing and promotion efforts for the city. A large part of the CVB mission is to focus on events that boost the city’s local hotels and motels, which in turn provide revenue for CVB via the city’s hotel-motel tax.

CVB plans to spend $127,000, or 24 percent of its budget, on local tourism events.

Another $65,000 of the CVB budget is pegged for advertising and marketing.

In the past two years the CVB has relinquished operations of the city’s amphitheater, which is now being run through the city recreation department, and the city’s tennis center, which is now operated through a private contract between the city and Canongate.

The CVB also has agreed with the city to consolidate staff at the new visitors center, which shares space with the amphitheater box office. That has netted a savings of $48,000. CVB is also reducing its legal expenses by nearly $11,000.

Mike King
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Please Say You're Kidding!

Over a half million bucks for Peachtree City tourism when common sense prevailed and a pet program, DAPC, was defunded. Has anyone at city hall realized an uptick in hotel/motel revenue the evenings before and after an event like the three or so triathlons conducted annually? Of course they haven't because the amount would be so insignificant that it would not justify the tax revenues expended.

We are in the midst of a substantial recession and sooner or later those folks at city hall are going to have to realize it.

Surely some babble will be forthcoming from our city government stating that we are bound by some governance to maintain the status quo, and try and convince us that we are a tourist destination like Fort Walton Beach. Can any elected official say we need this more than a new fire truck, for example?

borntorun
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PTC Tourism

According to Ga State law on the GA Dept of Community Affairs website, hotel motel tax is intended for promoting tourism, conventions, and trade shows including planning, conducting, or participating in programs of information and publicity designed to attract or advertise tourism, conventions, or trade shows.

That tax is paid by folk who stay in the hotels...not by citizens of PTC unless they stay in a hotel.

So, Mike, your comment about a fire truck has nothing to do with anything. You can't by law use hotel motel tax to buy one.

And I don't think anyone expects PTC to be pegged as a Ft. Walton like vacation center but there are two conference centers here in town that do host conventions and trade shows. I hear one of the smaller hotels is already in bankruptcy and the others are struggling.

We need those businesses holding their meetings here in PTC to help put folks in the restaurants and shopping at local stores. In this economy, they are gonna struggle to survive on just locals.

My problem is Haddix/Sturbaum have prostituted the PTC CVB to the extent it can't function as it should in two areas.

First and foremost, the CVB director should be a fulltime position dedicated to marketing and soliciting groups to come to PTC to hold their meetings. Seems to me if the CVB director is spending over half the year running the amphitheater, that ain't happening. What Haddix/Sturbaum are doing is using hotel motel tax to resolve funding shortage for a city position. I'm sure what they've done is probably legal but not in the best interest of the CVB supporting the local hotels and marketing PTC.

Second, according to their budget, they give a huge amount of money to the airport authority. Why? That money should be going to marketing PTC as a place to hold business meetings. Hard to believe that giving that money to the airport meets the letter or intent of what the law says it is meant for and is nothing more than a slush fund for the airport. And even if it is legal, have to ask is that the best use of the tax when the hotels are hurting?

Courthouserules
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Fund the Airport?

If the airport can be funded, why can't a fire engine be bought?

Anyway that hotel tax money (we pay when we stay out of town---think??it is a tax.

If the hotel tax didn't pay the airport, then the city would have to out of budget!!!!Do you get it? Why do we subsidize the airport anyway? a subsidy to companies located here? Sure it is---no tourists come here by jet!

Don Haddix
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That is only part of the law. It is also for development of tourism related infrastructure. It is a big law that takes 26 different forms of implementation the last I looked.

The Fred and CVB are interrelated, so the management of both works fine together. The hours are not split 50/50, but 70% paid by CVB for CVB work and 30% by the City for Fred work. Nancy Price did both jobs in Fayetteville as well. The CVB pays nothing for the Fred work.

As well if we didn't split the hours then we would have to hire a full time amphitheater manager as well. So, contrary to what King keeps claiming Sturbaum and I have worked and successfully shrunk the number of City and Fred employees, not grown government.

As for the Airport funding, that is something that needs to end, I agree. It was part of the original agreement when the old Tourism was created. It is a goal and the Airport is well aware of it. DCA is aware they get the funding and they are the State oversight agency.

Actually, the Airport is a plus for the hotels. It does contribute to their income in a significant way.

Sure, there will be tweaks to the CVB operation over time to make its operation even better. But it has already made great improvements over the past. They key is to not get complacent.

borntorun
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BTR: Haddix Tourism Response

First of all, I will forgive you for referring to me as NUK.

Second, even though I have no beef with Nancy Price and think she is a good choice for the CVB Director's position, while you may split charges 70% CVB/30%City for her duties on the books for accounting purposes, the fact is between booking acts, soliciting sponsorships and all the demands on her time during the summer months during the concert season, she will spend a helluva lot more than 30% of her time managing the amphitheater.

And since the amphitheater is under the management of the city and not the CVB, then what we have is a scenario where hotel motel tax would potentially paying for city work which is illegal. You admit as much with your comment "...if we didn't split the hours then we would have to hire a full time amphitheater manager as well". Wonder what DCA would say about that?

Third, you say the airport contributes to the hotels' income in a significant way. That is pure BS. The airport is not buzzing with planes flying in and out of PTC with folks staying at the conference centers. What empirical data do you have to support that statement? Has there been any study showing how much return there really is on the hotel motel tax transferred to the airport? Didn't think so.

That money going to the airport is nothing more than a slush fund propping up the airport authority which is why you and Sturbaum appointed an airport authority rep to serve on the CVB Board. Talk about not passing the smell test!

Don Haddix
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Haddix: borntorun

I most assuredly owe you an apology on saying NUK. No excuse for that.

Dual hats are common in the State, as DCA is fully aware of and has no problem with, there is no abuse of money and on the Airport, contact Kai Walter, the CVB Chairman who a hotel manager. Ask him about the Airport since you will not accept anything I say on the matter.

borntorun
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BTR:Haddix

I fully understand dual hats are common in the state. What I am talking about is what is being charged on the books versus what is actually happening in the real world. While I don't expect you to admit it (after all you would be admitting to illegal activities), the reality is under the current setup, the CVB Director is spending a helluva lot more than 30% of her time on city work (managing the amphitheater) and therefore, the time charges are not accurately reflected. And that's just a fact plain and simple.

As for contacting Mr. Walter, I don't know him and I'm sure he's a fine fellow. But being the CVB Chairman, not really an unbiased opinion would you say? What do the other hotels say about the transfer? That may be a more realistic view.

But the question posed to you (again) is, has anyone ever looked at how much money is being transferred to the airport versus the return on that transfer? Obviously the answer is no or you would have said so. You know good and well there is no way there is an equal return if there is any return at all. I don't know but maybe because the transfer is a slush fund helping to fund the airport authority with no regard as to how much it truly supports bringing in tourist dollars nobody wants to ask? Just wondering....

Mike King
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Mayor

Please be honest. Your budgetary expenditure projections from 2009 until 2014 rise from $23.8 Million to $29.1 million (from your own city budget). You may have reduced a number of lower end salaried employees that was actually initiated prior to your watch, but a jump of nearly six million bucks in five years makes your claim of reducing city government a stretch.

bladderq
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DaaPack & Tourist Bored

Don't get either of these. I still don't know why 1 of the smallest counties (in area) in GA can not work w/ the county govt. for these functions. The industrial area isn't going to move closer to I-85 (or that soon to be Log-Jam Interchange). I guess any would be Chinese suppliers know where the plant will be and how close is optimum. Same w/ KIA. There may be someone that wants to spend the weekend in lovely PTC (I enjoy it & call it resort living @ its finest) but I bet a cheap motel room is a bigger lure than renting a golf cart.

PTC Observer
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Mike King - Government

If we can't define the proper role of government at the local level we are all lost. It is certainly not to be some sort of marketing agency for the community.

This is the same sort of junk that Washington is feeding us. If we carry this logic forward, why don't we spend even more money why stop at over a half a million bucks? How about 1 or 2 million? Maybe our government can convice even more people to stay at the Holiday Inn Express on 74.

It's crazy and it's a waste of money.

Mike King
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Observer

This city administration is bent upon growing the size and scope of our local government to the point of being a 'nanny state' for special interests so that they can explain away paying nearly two-thirds of all revenue towards personnel costs. For example, the hotel/motel tax is expected to be $768K for FY 2010 which on the surface is a lucrative investment for $520K. But, since we are not, nor will we be a tourist destination odds are that without spending a dime on the CVB the revenue would be practically the same. It is businesses such as NCR that bring vacancy rates up in our local motels not the city government.

Haddix is adept at obfuscating things such as this to make himself look good while his business acumen remains poor. Why else would his frustration show during the DAPC debacle?

Courthouserules
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City defaulted on Bond payment

No, not PTC yet!
Harrisburg, PA, the Capitol city, could not make their bond payment for it's trash facility! It's bond rating fell five points--much worse than Greece.

Harrisburg has more wrong, of course than PTC's tall grass, tennis debts, wolves,excess road tickets, in-fighting by politicians, protection of employees, too high mil rate and overvalued properties, and worn out pool bubble.
The $531,000 we budgeted for our Convention and Visitor's Bureau, formerly Tourism Association, will only benefit the contributions the Bureau makes to the Airport. All of this contribution to the airport come from taxes on motel/hotels income.

Could I be wrong? Does the motel/hotel tax now go anywhere else except the Airport? The Tennis place is contracted and the Amphitheater is run by the city! Right?

Who is paying off the huge tennis center debt made illegally? The City--above the $531,000 to the Bureau?

Time to quit "fudging" and cut budget expenditures. That can be done
even now----the passed budget doesn't all have to be spent if cuts are still made.

Some seem to be worried about re-election--which we should eliminate anyway. Either that or quit paying the electees and they won't run anyway.

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