Langel wants Hotel/Motel funds to stay with CVB

Friday, February 10, 2017

LE MARS — At Tuesday’s Le Mars City Council meeting, the Convention and Visitor Bureau’s recommendations for fiscal year 2018 project funding using the Hotel/Motel Sales Tax were presented.

Total funding from the Hotel/Motel Tax is estimated to be $130,000. The CVB Advisory Board sent a letter to the council recommending funding $31,951 in project grants and allocating $82,500 towards the operation of the Le Mars Convention & Visitors Bureau and Visitors Center.

The advisory board received 13 applications totaling $49,763 in requests, and recommended totally or partially funding 10 of them.

The board’s recommendations are as follows: $7,500 for the 2018 Ice Cream Days; $619 for the 2018 Color Me Sweet 5k; $2,500 for the 42nd annual Country Music Festival; $1,500 for Real Encounter: Ice Cream Days; $3,500 for the 2017 Pioneer Village Christmas; $1,000 for the 2017 YMCA Sprint Triathlon; $800 for the 2018 Tour de Plymouth; $3,000 for the 2017 Frosty Cross; $6,632 for the City of Le Mars’ “Group Tours and Itineraries” brochures; and $4,900 for commercial building renovations at the Plymouth County Fairgrounds.

The advisory board recommended not funding a Century Theatre Video System for The Brown Family Ministries, a Smart TV for the Plymouth County Historical Museum, and the D.A.R.E. Program Conference for the Le Mars Police Department.

City Administrator Scott Langel voiced his opinion on the recommendations and the project funding.

“I’m compelled to recommend to the council that we no longer fund the 13 type items that you see on that list,” Langel said.

“In preparing the budget not only this year but last year, and also just looking at the city’s finances, looking at what Jessica Brownmiller and Mayor Kirchoff are doing as far as bringing more and more people to Le Mars, looking at the Brown family doing what they’re doing downtown,” Langel continued. “In my estimation, it really leads to the Hotel/Motel Tax should be 100 percent reserved by the city, strictly in its CVB account, such that the CVB can be the biggest and best it can be. I think that it’s really time we pull that department all together and make sure that we’ve got a funding source that can handle everything that’s being done.”

Langel added there will likely be an official recommendation to not fund the projects at the Feb. 21 council meeting.

“If I’m the only one in the community that feels that way then I’ll back off,” Langel said.

The bureau and center oversee a community marketing cooperation initiative, which is included within the CVB budget.

The tax has been in place since 2002, and Le Mars voters renewed the five cent tax in August 2013.

The recommendations were listed as a consent item on the agenda, but the council tabled action, to give the public time to review the recommendations before the Feb. 21 council meeting.

Respond to this story

Posting a comment requires free registration: