It was announced this morning that the Common Council Legal Committee meeting, which was scheduled for 6:15 p.m. tonight, has been canceled, very likely because the special meeting of the Common Council, to take up the issue of assessments, which begins at 5:00 p.m., is not expected to be over before 6:15. One of the issues the Legal Committee was expected to take up was amending the lodging tax law to put all revenue from the lodging tax into the control of the Common Council, essentially defunding the Tourism Board. Last night, the Tourism Board met for its regular monthly meeting in the shadow of uncertainty about its future.
The meeting began with an issue the Tourism Board has been discussing for months: the $20,000 that the City of Hudson has in the past used to support community events. After lengthy discussion, during which it was decided that the application for funds needed to include a question about how the event would be marketed, the eight members of the Tourism Board--Jamie Smith Quinn, Kristen Keck, Tambra Dillon, Rich Volo, Ellen Thurston, Ted Gramkow, Chuck Rosenthal, and Jeff Hunt--finally voted to return $20,000 of the Tourism Board's budget to the general fund to be distributed, as it was last year, by the Common Council Finance Committee. Only Quinn, who maintained that the events traditionally funded with the $20,000 did not bring tourists to Hudson, voted against the plan.
The board then discussed its ongoing review process in selecting a consulting firm to help develop a strategic plan for marketing Hudson as a destination. It was decided that the one firm that was scheduled to make its presentation to board this Friday would be asked to postpone, and all four groups being considered--Neo Design Group, Fifteen Degrees, BBG&G, and Chandlerthinks--would make their presentations in a day-long session on Friday, May 10. The board decided to pursue their plan on the assumption that any changes made to the lodging tax law would not be retroactive and money collected under the current law could be spent in accordance with that law to do research and community engagement toward the end of creating a strategic plan. Regarding the proposed amendment, Rosenthal noted, "The Council is hearing one set of voices. They need to hear from those in the tourism-supported businesses."
It is of interest to note that none of the people who have been most critical of the Tourism Board and its mission were in attendance at yesterday's meeting.
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