TDC Revenue Enhancement Committee Meeting

by September 25, 2008 • 3 comments

The TDC/CVB pulled together an impressive report on Bed Tax collections in competing destinations.

Numbers are clear:  Tourists visiting Panama City Beach pay less bed tax than in most other vacation destinations in Florida and the Southeast.  The full report will be posted here as soon as possible; email lancaster.kirk@gmail.com if you want me to email it to you..

There is no doubt we could improve TDC revenues by adding 2 cents, and the only people who would notice are the Bed Tax Collectors themselves.  (Sorry BTCs, I love you and am on your side, wishing you didn’t have to collect it all by yourselves, but that’s a bigger fight I’d join you on…)

There were other discussions of increasing TDC/CVB revenue, such as marketing co-ops and adding a new employee to collect back-taxes from the owners who are not paying up, but the 1 to 2 cent bed tax increase is by far the real revenue stream.  And it’s the topic that supposedly was the crack that caused the previous TDC Board breakup.  So it’s a hotty alright.

Since this is such a debated topic, please join in the comments and give your 2 cents on increased Bed Taxes (Revenue) for Bay County.  PCBDaily.com gives us all a voice on these issues, and you wouldn’t believe how many local business people and residents read this website and subscribe to the weekly newsletter.  So whether you’re on the TDC Board, a Bed Tax Collector, a concerned tourist, or a reporter for the major media outlets in town… if you have a solution or opinion on our Bed Tax and Tourist Development Revenue, let your voices be heard!

Here’s my 2 cent offering to the Revenue Enhancement Committee.

1. Raise the tax 2 cents, build sports and special events facilities only

2. The TDC serves Bay County.  Bay County serves tourists and thrives on tourism.  All hotels and motels in Bay County should be required to collect the Bay County Bed Tax.  I pay bed tax in Tuscaloosa, AL, and they’re no where near a beach.

3. Increase percentage of Bed Tax spent on product, and less on promotion.  All our competitors in the report spend more on beach/product improvement than on advertising and promotions.  We should follow that lead.  They have a better product as a result.

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1 Dennis September 25, 2008 at 5:16 pm

My 2 cents. I expected great things after the TDC member shakeup. Haven’t seen them and there have been many opportunities to make the changes. I do not trust them. Good money after bad.

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2 BB October 8, 2008 at 9:24 am

Kirk,
I somewhat agree with you and could more easliy get on-board with your 1,2,3 priority if you could throw in “beach cleanliness”. But, my preference would be that the TDC look hard at their current budget and see where they can be more efficient and productive before asking for an additional 2-3% bed tax. It is less relevant to me what other vacationers pay in bed tax than what Panama City Beach gets out of the tax we condo owners collect (or absorb) as we try to stay afloat.

I rent to many vacationers each year and there are two themes that I constantly hear:
a) “We love your condo, but your beaches are too trashy. We will probably not come back.”
b) “We love your condo, but found the noise and non-family atmosphere of the beach to be too much. We will be finding another location for our vacation next year.”

Food for thought:
Why do condo owners have to completely fund the beach economic engine via tax (10% total when you add state, local, TDC total tax). It is getting harder and harder to get renters, but when we are successful in our private advertising to attract them to the area, they benefit the whole beach economy by buying clothes, gas, beer, and food. Instead of increasing burdening condo owners with financing all attractants via the bed tax, let the County fund some infrastructure that is geared toward tourism. I would have rather kept the old Library and built a new sports stadium for local games and concerts than spent $6M on a new library.

Last thought: TDC – tighten up. This is not “free money” you are getting. Spend it wisely. Spend it locally. Your problem is not lack of revenue…it’s lack of forward thinking.

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3 Kirk Lancaster October 8, 2008 at 6:53 pm

Hi BB –

Thanks for the comment. Regarding cleanliness, that’s my #1 objective for getting involved with the TDC in the first place. Please check out my site http://www.KeeptheBeachClean.com and sign up for announcements such as beach clean-ups and progress reports.

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