Committee votes for ROT flexibility

by Kelly Corbett
Wednesday, March 12, 2014

About a week before the Room Occupancy Tax flexibility resolution goes before the Wrightsville Beach Board of Aldermen, the Wrightsville Beach Marketing Advisory Committee motioned in favor of the resolution, expressing its position to the board.

Before the Tuesday, March 11 vote, marketing committee members first voted about whether to have a vote, after many stressed the importance of sand before promotion.

Member John Andrews was the sole dissenting voice against the resolution.

“It’s a very complex issue. We’re not simply voting yes to beach renourishment, no to promotion, but we’re sending a message to the state legislature,” said Sue Bulluck, committee member and chairwoman of the Wrightsville Beach Chamber of Commerce. “… Nothing in this resolution says anything in the law is going to change other than the flexibility.”

Bulluck mentioned the change from the original legislation transforming from 80/20 for nourishment and promotion, respectively, to the current 60/40 disbursement as another way to tackle the problem by reverting back to the formula.

“It’s a bad law,” she said. “It has five pieces, five pots of money. It has redundancy built into it for management of distribution.”

Carolina and Kure beaches have already approved the resolution, but Wrightsville Beach slowed on making a decision awaiting input from the marketing committee.

“The delegation is going to say, ‘What about Wrightsville?’” Bulluck said.

The town’s nourishment fund is at about $43 million, and Bulluck said a $50 million figure would fund three nourishment cycles.

Town manager Tim Owens said the Federal Emergency Management Agency assistance with beach nourishment following a disaster is more common with local projects than federal projects.

“This won’t solve the problem, this in itself,” Chairman Pres Davenport said.

Shawn Braden, executive vice president of marketing of the Wilmington and Beaches Convention and Visitors Bureau, said the resolution would go before the General Assembly’s May short session, which could impact the committee’s budget.

“We would have to react very quickly to that,” Braden said.

Shortly after the vote, the committee shifted to a discussion about a strategic plan, postponed from the February meeting that was canceled during a winter storm.

Due to the delay, the committee will receive a loosely based media plan in April and will push back the 2014-15 budget vote until June.


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