Wrightsville Beach will wait on input from the Wrightsville
Beach Marketing Advisory Committee before making a decision about whether to
enter into a joint resolution with Kure and Carolina beaches requesting more
flexibility with Room Occupancy Tax funds.
In the meantime, Kure and Carolina beaches will proceed with
adopting the resolutions during March meetings.
Kure Beach Town Council initiated the request during a January
beach towns meeting with local legislators.
The beach town representatives, along with representatives
from New Hanover County, the City of Wilmington, marketing committees and the
New Hanover County Tourism Development Authority, met at Shell Island on
Thursday, Feb. 27, to further discuss ROT flexibility.
“We have a marketing
committee meeting in two weeks,” said Wrightsville Beach Mayor Bill Blair. “…
We’re sort of methodical about it.”
The resolution will come before the Wrightsville Beach Board
of Aldermen on Wednesday, March 19.
The resolution wording allows beach towns to use discretion
with half of the second 3 percent of ROT funds. Currently, half is used to
promote travel and tourism and half is used for tourism-related purposes within
the 3 percent.
“This number is bigger to us than it is to any of you other
guys,” said Kure Beach Commissioner David Heglar, stressing the resolution’s
importance to Kure’s nourishment funding. “For us, if we don’t start pushing
the train now, the train’s not going to move. … I don’t see anybody doing taxes
on food or booze or anything else in our towns in the short term.”
Individual beach web and mobile sites would disappear if the
funding is taken from promotion funds.
Kim Hufham, president and CEO of Wilmington and Beaches
Convention and Visitors Bureau, showed the collection and distribution of ROT
funds from beach towns and how the dollars are used for marketing.
“You would just be part of the portal of New Hanover County,”
Hufham said about the potential result of funds redistribution.
The resolution draft will be sent to the city and county for
comments before the beach towns meet.
“We recognized that there would be resistance,” Heglar said. “We
recognize that it’s not an easy sell.”
The Town of Wrightsville Beach, with a total budget of about
$13.4 million, estimates $553,101 in ROT funds for fiscal year 2013-14, for
activities like police and fire.
The 2014 Wrightsville Beach nourishment project totals $8.3
million compared to $12.5 million for the 2013 Carolina and Kure beach
nourishment project. In 2011, all three beach towns signed an interlocal agreement agreeing to pay 17.5 percent of
nourishment projects, totaling $1.45 million for Wrightsville Beach and $2.19
million for Carolina and Kure beaches, if there is no federal or state funding. The county agreed to pay 82.5 percent without federal and state funds.
Alderwoman Lisa Weeks was absent from the meeting.
The full story will be printed on Thursday, March 6.