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Council weans CVB off hotel room taxes
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Manteca visitors are expected to spend almost $11 million on hotel rooms — including nearly $1 million in room taxes — in the fiscal year starting July 1.
Room tax receipts have almost tripled since the opening of the Big League Dreams sports complex nearly a decade ago thanks to weekend tournament play requiring overnight stays.
The 10 percent room tax Manteca collects is projected to generate $999,000 in the 12-month period ending June 30, 2017. In the current fiscal year ending in 40 days the city’s tax is expected to have generated $908,000 in general fund receipts.
In the past that would have meant the Manteca Convention & Visitors Bureau would have received $180,000 or 20 percent of the room tax receipts in exchange for promoting visits to Manteca to not just fill hotel rooms but to generate room taxes but also to spend money in restaurants and stores.
That won’t happen this year.
Manteca Mayor Steve DeBrum has pushed to have the CVB weaned off the room taxes as well as assuming they will automatically receive funds from the city.
Instead they have been invited to apply for funding from a $2.5 million set aside from redevelopment tax receipts the city is now receiving at a rate of $750,000 a year since the state took over the RDA. That money — which did not flow into the general fund previously — was set aside by the council for the expressed purpose of spending it on efforts that would stimulate economic growth.
DeBrum and the rest of the council want a trackable proposal from the CVB to show how any money they receive from the city is spent. In the years after the CVB was formed exact programs were offered and a number of events were staged.
The CVB is requesting funding from the economic stimulus account as has the Manteca Chamber of Commerce and the Manteca Mural Society. It is the same account city staff had recommended tapping for $92,000 to hire a consultant for initial work on a downtown plan. The council rejected that proposal six weeks ago.
The mural society is asking for $50,000 to help with its mural project that has been used to enhance downtown as well as generate visitor interest.
Since the RDA pass through taxes is essentially new money to the general fund, by taking the CVB off the room tax it would free that money for other purposes. The $180,000 they would have received under the previous arrangement would be enough to cover the compensation and associated costs for 1.3 public safety officers— police officer or firefighter — for a year.