According to the 2013 - 2014 Grenada Tourism Commission budget, the commission is planning to give the City of Grenada $45,000 for an entry labeled “City Plan.”
We understand this a payment for plans in
connection with a big sports complex the city council wants to build on industrial property north of town.
We urge the commission to reconsider this
To begin with, the property the council wants to use is much more-suited for industrial development. Indeed, it is part of our air industrial park, and it is located on Paper Mill Road, which is heavily traveled by scores of big log trucks daily.
This project, which could cost taxpayers millions of dollars, is also in competition with a new private enterprise facility south of town.
The primary reason this needs to be reconsidered - however - is that it violates the spirit, if not the letter, of the law.
According to our interpretation of the tourism tax law, the city has already extracted the money intended for the civic center -- sports complex -- or whatever you want to call it. The law states that money for this purpose is to come out of the city’s monthly share of the tax proceeds. On average, the city gets a little over $20,000 a month from the food, drink, and room tax. (See Section C, Paragraph 7, reproduced on this page.)
This appears to us as an attempt by the City Council to take over the revenues dedicated to the Tourism Commission’s authority.
The following letter Freedom of Information request was sent to City Manager Charles Weathers on Feb. 19:
The law enabling the collection of additional sales tax on prepared food and rooms in the City of Grenada (SB 3229, 2007 Regular Session) states the following in Section III, Paragraph 7:
“The proceeds of the tax shall not be considered by the city as general fund revenues but shall be dedicated to and used by the commission solely for the purpose of carrying out programs and activities designed to attract tourists to the city and surrounding area. Fifty percent (50%) of the tax revenue shall be placed in an interest bearing tourism escrow fund for the construction, financing and operation of a convention center or any other use to promote tourism as determined by the City of Grenada. The convention center shall be carefully planned and constructed with the cooperation of the governing authority and the commission.”
1. Please send us the annual revenues since the law was enacted.
2. Please send us a bank statement showing the required escrow account and interest earned.
3. If there is any difference between the monetary values indicated in Request #1 and Request #2, please give exact details of these expenditures as required in Section III, Paragraph 1 of the governing legislation.