Tuesday, April 9, 2019

The Future of the Tourism Board

The scrutiny and criticism that the Tourism Board has been subjected to in recent months has had its effect. Last night, at the informal Common Council meeting, Alderman John Rosenthal (Fourth Ward), who chairs the Legal Committee, brought up "the need to address the language in the lodging tax law" as it pertains to the Tourism Board. It seems reasonable that the language stating the mission of the Tourism Board--"The Tourism Board is hereby empowered to take all reasonable steps it determines desirable, necessary and proper to market the City of Hudson as a destination for overnight and daytrip visitors"--might be amended so that the task of the board is not so narrowly interpreted as branding and marketing--two terms that have been the lightning rods of criticism for the Tourism Board--but the changes the Council has in mind seem to be quite a bit different.

Council president Tom DePietro spoke of an amended law being crafted by city attorney Andy Howard which would put all funds from the lodging tax under the control of the Common Council, eliminating the percentage of those funds now set aside for use by the Tourism Board. That amount currently is 50 percent of the first $250,000 of revenues from the lodging tax; 25 percent of the second $250,000; and 10 percent of revenues above $500,000--never to exceed $250,000 in any given year. DePietro noted that the proposed amendment would stipulate that "the Tourism Board needs to make a proposal to get any of the money." Rosenthal opined, "The Council is a better forum for allocating funds from the lodging tax." Not everyone may agree with that statement. 

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