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Back You are here: Home Opinion Opinion Section Editorials Editorial: Proposed Changes To Spending Room Tax Funds

Editorial: Proposed Changes To Spending Room Tax Funds

By WILLARD KILLOUGH III
Managing Editor

The Carolina Beach Town Council will meet at Town Hall Friday, February 28, 2014 from 5:00 – 6:00 p.m to consider adopting a resolution opposing seismic air gun testing for off shore oil and natural gas exploration. Also, they will consider a resolution supporting a change to allow local governments more flexibility to spend Room Occupancy Tax funds. They would like to have a bill from the State legislature to allow towns to use the second 3% of their Room Occupancy Tax revenues (ROT), usually reserved for marketing by the Tourism Development Authority in New Hanover County, for expenses such as multi-million dollar beach nourishment projects to pump sand on to the beach.
This is an important issue protecting properties and our tourism economy. Securing federal funding for beach nourishment projects over the years has grown to become a complicated last minute lobbying effort in congress. With local governments facing the increasing likelihood they'll have to carry more of the financial burden for such shore protection projects, opening the door to utilize ROT funds to that purpose is much more desirable than placing all of the additional burden upon property tax payers. After all, lodging in our area is largely dependent upon our most valuable tourism attraction; the beach. Taxes derived from those visitors have long been used to fund a portion of beach nourishment projects out of another 3% ROT tax. The second has been restricted to promotion and tourism related expenditures (events that put heads on beds). That's excellent, but when push comes to shove, a narrow beach needs attention first. Hopefully the State Legislature will see the logic and support this measure.