A vote on Tuesday by the Platteville Common Council will go a long way in determining the future path of the Platteville Area Chamber of Commerce. As previously reported, on May 10, Larry Bierke, city manager, proposed a committee consolidation plan to the Platteville Common Council.
The change that has garnered the most attention is the consolidation of the museum board, arts board, Rountree Gallery board, and the tourism commission into the tourism and arts committee.
Currently, the city, through the tourism commission has a contract with the Platteville Area Chamber of Commerce for the chamber to act as the city's tourism entity, promoting the city. That contract expires Dec. 31, 2013. The tourism entity currently receives about $57,000 (70 percent of the room tax revenues) annually from city room tax fees from local hotels/motels. Twenty-eight percent of the room tax fees goes to the city's general fund, while two percent is returned to the hotel/motel owners.
If the committee consolidation plan is approved by the common council, the council would then have the authority to allocate the room tax funds beginning Jan. 1, 2014, rather than the tourism commission, which would have folded into the tourism and arts committee. The council would then take recommendations from the tourism and arts committee.
Kathy Kopp, executive director of the Platteville Area Chamber of Commerce, has previously noted that the $57,000 in annual funding constitutes about one-third of the entire chamber budget. It is not clear, once the chamber's contract with the tourism commission ends, where that allotted room tax money will go.
During the council's regular meeting on Nov. 8, Deb McWilliams, chamber board treasurer, re-iterated the boards opposition to the proposal. She submitted the board's statement to the council, which reads, "The Platteville Area Chamber of Commerce is the most recognized and best positioned organization in Platteville to serve as the tourism entity. Having served the Platteville area for the past 16 years as the tourism entity, the Platteville Area Chamber of Commerce has a proven track record of keeping tourism at the forefront of economic development for our local area businesses. The chamber board of directors is not in favor of any ordinance change with regard to room tax or the tourism commission at this time."
At the conclusion of last week's meeting, Mike Dalecki, common council president, stated he still is not sure how the $57,000 in room tax money is being used by the chamber.
It isn't clear at this point, if the consolidation plan has enough votes to pass on Tuesday. The council meeting will be held at 7 p.m. at City Hall.