There has been considerable back and forth between Wilmington City Council and the Convention and Visitors Bureau (CVB) over the allocation of funds.
The CVB maintains that if the council retains a larger portion of the city’s annual lodging (bed) tax, the CVB will be unable to fulfill its mission of bringing tourist and convention business to the city and county.
As is often the case, the old advice to “follow the money” applies to this situation.
The CVB 2015 revenue was $50,000 more than budgeted and expended. This fund surplus is just sitting around gathering dust rather than being utilized by the city to enhance other currently under supported venues, such as the park system, that could bring in out-of-city hospitality dollars.
It appears, from early returns, that 2016 will increase the CVB surplus over budget even more than 2015’s.
If the CVB is held financially harmless and the city can reclaim some of our tax dollars, it appears to this observer that this is a “no harm no foul” situation where both parties benefit.
It’s time to stop the war of words and move forward by allowing council to do its job of allocating taxpayer funds in the manner deemed the best use of those funds.
If future needs of the CVB warrant additional revenue, the bureau can apply to council at annual budget time and make their case just like other entities do.
Notes: The budget and revenue data are public records available on request from the city. Fairborn, Ohio, for example, uses its bed tax share for city parks.