7 of the 9 board members were present. Yonnie Patronis and Mike Nelson were absent.
Bed Tax Collection Update: Charlene Honnen, the Bay County Tourist Development Tax Specialist, updated the board. The November collections were up 3% from 2006; however, Chairman Phillips cautioned that all indications are that PCB tourism was relatively soft for 2007. Phillips mentioned that occupancy number might actually be down for the year since rates were higher due to higher rates being charged for the new upgraded accommodations.
Frank Brown Park Road: Mayor Oberst requested that the TDC consider committing approximately $34,000 to pay one-third of the cost to continue paving the road from the special event site to the new North Pier Park Dr. The bid is based on county staff completing the work. Oberst reported that the BCC agreed yesterday to pay one-third and the PCB Council was scheduled to consider the same tomorrow. Gary Walsingham inquired as to whether this type of expenditure was permissible using bed tax funds. Legal Counsel Sale responded that it was OK as long as the board made a finding that the expenditure would promote tourism in PCB. Since the TDC budget for 2007-08 does not have sufficient contingency funds, a motion was made that the board recommend to the BCC that the expenditure be approved contingent on sufficient additional funds being available after the audit currently taking place is completed. The motion passed 7-0.
Turtle Lighting Ordinance: Sale reported that staff has requested the Army Corps of Engineers move forward with the 2008 renourishment project based on the boards approval of a lighting ordinance at their last meeting. The USACE is currently awaiting comment from U.S. Fish & Wildlife. Sale cautioned the board that USF&W might revoke two major concessions (approval of non-turtle friendly safety lighting and a unusually long 5 year compliance period) since the board decided to include the grandfather provision previously rejected by USF&W.
Christmas Holiday Marketing: Chairman Phillips recommended that the CVB Marketing Committee consider opportunities for holiday-oriented activities that could increase December tourism. Possibilities discussed by the board included decorations on Front Beach Rd. similar to Lake Defuniak, sleigh rides, shopping programs, and New Year Eve fireworks.
Strategic Planning Program: Dan Rowe announced final details for the Strategic Planning Program later this month. Peter Yesawich will be speaking at Gulf Coast Community College on the 21st from 3:30 to 5:30 concerning trends in the tourism industry. This will be followed by the first workshop on the 22nd from 9:00 to 3:00 at the Edgewater Resort. The CVB has hired Bob Allen as an outside facilitator. Both sessions are open to the public.
Visitor Inquiries: Internet inquiries have been relatively flat recently and Rowe is working with Miles Media to retool the CVB’s internet marketing plans. Rowe is also considering reallocating staff due to a reduction in telephone inquiries.
Sporting Events Funding Policy: Rowe reported that Sports Marketing Director Richard Sanders was currently developing a Sporting Event Policy similar to the Special Events Policy. Compliance with the new policy will be required for any Sporting Event requesting CVB funding assistance.
College Spring Break Update: Rowe announced that the CVB’s co-op web site was running late but would be up by Monday. MTV is also running behind schedule in putting 2008 information on their site. Staff has been in contact with Campus Crusade For Life, which expects 2000-3000 volunteers to be here during college break doing community service. Their projects last year included trash cleanup and planting sea oats.
2007-08 Co-Op Advertising Update: Rowe reported that the December co-op ad fair was very successful. Agency is currently considering revisions for a few placements that the industry partners did not have an interest in.
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