Friday, August 12, 2011

How the Convention Center Is Affecting Beach Renourishment

Normally, room occupancy tax is split 3%/3% between the city and county.  In the downtown "convention center district" area, it goes entirely to the city for the $60M ($110M if you count interest) convention center.

Normally, the county would use its share of the revenue for beach renourishment and for the Tourism Authority.  However, they don't get the money now, and a federal ban on earmarks is having an unforeseen effect on NHC's other beach renourishment funds.

The reality is the convention center district room occupancy tax only generates about $2.5M of revenue a year, which means the county would only get about $1.25M.  Still, that's money they'd normally have at their disposal.  Instead it goes to the massive downtown money pit.  Woops.  I mean the convention center.

Faced with the fear of having to foot the bill to keep local inlets from filling with sand, one county commissioner wants to look at the future of the tax revenue used to pay for the Wilmington Convention Center.
[...]Concern about funds for inlet dredging is at the top of commissioners' priority list as they consider spending more than $168,000 to dredge the Carolina Beach Inlet. A number of other shallow-draft inlets in Southeastern North Carolina are in danger of shoaling up because a federal ban on earmarks erased a funding stream to pay the Army Corps of Engineers for dredging.

Commissioners decided to scrap the resolution that looks at ways to get funding for dredging in the future, but it's still a conversation Commissioner Rick Catlin thinks officials need to have.

[...]The county plans to vote Monday on spending more than $168,000 to match state funding that would be used to dredge Carolina Beach Inlet.

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