AN ACT TO MAKE ADMINISTRATIVE CHANGES TO THE MITCHELL COUNTY OCCUPANCY TAX; TO EXTEND THE TIME PERIOD FOR WHICH THE CITIES OF HICKORY AND CONOVER MAY USE TWO-THIRDS OF THEIR OCCUPANCY TAX PROCEEDS FOR CONVENTION CENTER EXPENDITURES; AND TO MODIFY THE USES OF THE BUNCOMBE COUNTY OCCUPANCY TAX.
Senate committee substitute makes the following changes to the 2nd edition.
Deletes proposed subsection (a1) to Section 1, SL 1987-141, which authorized the Mitchell County Board of Commissioners to levy an additional room occupancy tax of up to 3%.
Adds the following new content.
Sections 2.1 and 2.2
Amends Sections 1 and 3 of SL 2009-169, which set parameters for the use of occupancy tax proceeds remitted by the Cities of Hickory and Conover to each city's respective tourism development authority (TDA). Extends the date through which each TDA is authorized to use two-thirds of the funds remitted for the purpose of improving, leasing, constructing, financing, operating, or acquiring facilities and properties needed to provide for a convention center facility, from December 31, 2029, to December 31, 2039. Makes conforming changes.
Effective July 1, 2022, amends SL 1983-908, as amended, which authorizes Buncombe County (County) to levy an occupancy tax, with remittance to the Tourism Development Authority (TDA) in the county. Defines net proceeds to mean the gross proceeds less the cost to the county of administering and collecting the tax, not to exceed 5% of the gross proceeds collected each year (previously, did not include the limitation). Eliminates authority for the TDA to use up to 10% of the funds distributed to it for administrative expenses.
Changes the authorized expenditures of funds remitted to the TDA to now provide for the following. Allows for two-thirds (was three-fourths) to be used only to further the development, travel, tourism, meetings, and events in the county through marketing, advertising, sales, and promotion and (2) the administrative expenses of the TDA, not to exceed 20% of the net proceeds for the applicable fiscal year, including salaries, benefits, operations, and facilities (previously, authorized the TDA to use up to 10% of the funds distributed to it for administrative expenses); and the remainder to be split evenly between the Tourism Product Development Fund, to increase (was, significantly increase) patronage of lodging facilities, and the Legacy Investment From Tourism Fund, to increase patronage of lodging facilities, meeting facilities, and convention facilities, and to benefit the community at large (previously, the remainder was distributed to the Tourism Product Development Fund only).
Regarding administration of funds from the Tourism Product Development Fund (Product Fund), includes applicants for capital maintenance projects and bars using proceeds for operational expenses. Requires approval of three-fourths of the TDA for the Product Development Committee to award funds as grants or guarantee loans and participate in debt service for projects. Prohibits such loans from exceeding the amount committed to the Product Fund for the project. Prohibits committing to debt service a portion of the net funds in excess of 33% of the average net funds received over a rolling three-year average for a period of time in excess of 15 years for any one project, replacing the previous commitment limitations. Prohibits the TDA from being the sole funding source for any debt service. Requires the majority of the Product Development Committee to be comprised of owners and operators of hotels, motels, or bed and breakfasts (was, and other taxable tourist accommodations).
Details administration of funds in the Legacy Investment From Tourism Fund (Legacy Fund). Requires the TDA to create the Legacy Investment From Tourism Committee to review and evaluate proposals from applicants for tourism-related projects, and make recommendations to the TDA regarding the use and disposition of the Legacy Fund's funds. Bars for-profit entities from receiving funds or loans from the Legacy Fund, and bars use of funds for operational expenses. Allows for projects to receive grants or loans and pledges upon recommendation of the Committee and approval of three-fourths of the TDA. Prohibits such loans from exceeding the amount committed to the Legacy Fund for the project. Requires projects to be located in the county unless given specific approval by the Board of County Commissioners. Prohibits committing to debt service a portion of the net funds in excess of 33% of the average net funds received over a rolling three year average for a period of time in excess of 15 years for any one project. Prohibits the TDA from being the sole funding source for any debt service. Includes requirements for applicants and proposed projects. Details use of the Legacy Fund's funds, which mirror that of the Tourism Product Development Fund. Requires the majority of the Legacy Investment From Tourism Committee to be comprised of owners and operators of hotels, motels, or bed and breakfasts.
Changes appointment of the Asheville City Council member to the TDA to require appointment by the City Council rather than the Board of County Commissioners. Changes the qualifications of TDA members to exclude from membership eligibility vacation rental management companies with more than 100 rental units from those members appointed under Section 22(3). Replaces the qualifications and appointment of the three individuals actively involved in the tourist business who have participated in tourism promotion appointed under Section 22(4) to now require one vacation rental owner or vacation rental management company appointed by the Board; one executive from a ticketed tourist attraction appointed by the Asheville Area Chamber of Commerce; and one restaurant owner, owner of a brewery, distillery, or winery open for tours or tastings, or executive director of a ticketed arts organization appointed by the City Council. Makes technical and clarifying changes.
Eliminates outdated language. Enacts definitions for vacation rental management company, vacation rental management company owner, and vacation rental owner.
Provides for current TDA members to serve their remaining appointed terms.
Changes the act's titles.