City Council considers changes to hospitality tax allocations
Council to hear presentations from organizations requesting hospitality tax funding
After a lengthy discussion at Monday's meeting, Spartanburg City Council made several changes to how the City will distribute hospitality tax funding in the future. In a trio of 7-0 votes, Council decided to cap the amount of hospitality tax funding awarded this year to outside organizations at $450,000 and to hold two sessions allowing organizations requesting funds to make their cases. Council also established changes for fiscal year 2017, creating a committee to more clearly set parameters for how hospitality tax funds are awarded.
Currently, staff reviews requests for hospitality tax funding from outside organizations and makes annual recommendations to Council, but members have recently expressed a desire to clarify and standardize the process. State law requires that 50 percent of hospitality tax funds be spent to encourage visits to the area, though no other stipulations are placed on how the funding is spent.
Council also got an overview of other budget items, including a proposal by staff to increase the City's contribution to its equipment replacement fund, which would rise by $200,000 per year from the current $1.3 million until annual contribution matches annual equipment expenditures, currently around $2 million per year. Staff also recommended that Council consider adding another $50,000 to the $800,000 the City's contributes annually to its legacy pension system. Currently 102 retirees are enrolled in the system, which was closed to new employees in the early 90s. Assistant City Manager Chris Story said the increase would allow the city to "err on the side of caution" in funding the system.
For more on Monday's Council meeting, see the full video and roundup of our live tweets below.