Hotel/Motel tax funds causes

By Frank Lewis - [email protected]

Several organizations in the city of Portsmouth benefit each year from people who stay at hotels and motels in the city. That’s because in 1981 the city passed a tax ordinance, which adopted the Arts, Cultural and Community Affairs policy and established a seven-member Cultural Affairs Panel to meet and recommend where one-third of the revenue from that tax is spent.

“Sixty-six and two-thirds percent goes to the convention and visitors bureau,” First Ward Councilman Kevin W. Johnson said. “Then the remaining 33 1/3 percent goes to the Cultural Affairs Panel to take input from non-profits. The non-profits will make a proposal to the Cultural Affairs Panel for projects, requesting money.

Johnson said the Panel looks at all the requests, then makes recommendations to Portsmouth City Council.

In 2016 the Panel was budgeted for $24,832.81.

“We are still not getting the actuals yet, but it’s almost certain to be $24,832.81,” Johnson said.

The Cultural Affairs Panel has, according to Portsmouth City Manager Derek K. Allen, requested $25,899.14 to be distributed to its approved city organizations.

“How it works is they get a statement from (City Auditor) Trent (Williams) and they estimated it at $20,000 this year,” Joyhnson said. “Why it went down -I don’t know. That is always Trent’s call based upon what he sees or what he feels is happening with the economy because that’s all hotel tax.”

According to Allen, $20,000 was appropriated in the 2017 budget in Fund 247. He said the actual amount can be adjusted and finalized later in the year. The total appropriation in the fund was $80,000.

Allen will introduce the ordinance during the city manager’s agenda and may recommend council waive the three-readings rule based on the recommendations of the Cultural Affairs Committee.

The committee will meet March 7 and council is expected to have the figures by their March 7 meeting, Johnson said.

By Frank Lewis

[email protected]

Reach Frank Lewis at 740-353-3101, ext. 1928, or on Twitter @franklewis.

Reach Frank Lewis at 740-353-3101, ext. 1928, or on Twitter @franklewis.