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Back You are here: Home Opinion Opinion Section Editorials Editorial: Triathlon Debate A Very Taxing Issue

Editorial: Triathlon Debate A Very Taxing Issue

By WILLARD KILLOUGH III
Managing Editor

The for-profit business that puts on the annual Triathlon in Kure Beach felt cheated and overcharged because the Town initially sent them a $3,900 dollar invoice for the June 2012 event (See page 1-A this week.)
Ultimately the argument between the Town and the for-profit company Setup Events centered on $240. The total fees that the Town of Kure Beach charged for this year's triathlon were $1,860.00. Mr. Scott [The event organizer] had not paid $240 of that bill. At the July Town Council meeting, Mr. Scott discussed with the Council his position that the Town was charging excessive fees for his event. He was directed to put in his application for next year's event, so that the Council could work with him on reaching agreement to prevent this issue from occurring again. Additionally, Council directed staff to re-invoice Set Up Events for the remaining $240.
In 2010, the Town charged $2,250 for the event and in 2011, the Town charged $2,400.
At the August meeting the Council decided to stick with the existing fee schedule less the number of smaller motorized vehicles used by lifeguards on the beach. That figure may be reduced. Ultimately we're talking about a company in business to make money. When you run a business you have to spend money to make money. The Town Council, at one point, adopted a list of fees for all events that require the dedication of Town resources (police, fire, etc.) The Town over estimated the initial invoice, but when informed, they corrected it. Then it came down to a $240 debate for police officer hours and vehicles. The event organizer makes the argument that he's being overcharged compared to other Town's for police resources.
Details aside, we're talking about an event that charges a fee for up to 500 people to participate. Even in 2007 they charged $50 for early registration with a cap of 500 participants. $25,000. This debate centers on $240. If the event is truly as important to the Town's economy as many supporters have argued, $240 seems trivial and contrary to that argument. Especially when it's generated so much controversy via emails, the press and in public meetings. If they relocate the event over $240, I guess that places a price tag on loyalty to the community that's hosted their event for 15 years. For the first seven years, the Town charged nothing. And perhaps other communities charge lower rates. It's hard to compare apples to oranges. Different communities have different levels of budgetary resources.
If Setup thinks they deserve special consideration for lower fees due to their economic contribution, then by all means, bring supporting economic data to Council and sell leaders on the positive return of investing in the event rather than coming at them guns a blazing.
The community loves the Triathlon. Show them the return and if the sales tax and hotel taxes support a major windfall for the taxpayers, perhaps they'll further lower the overall bill.
All part of doing business.