The 4 percent surtax currently generates $2 million a year. An extra penny would add $500,000, but there are differences over whether all the added revenue should go to beach restoration or whether some should go to marketing the county.
Tourist Development Council
After a vote failed to take-over the failing museum entirely, Flagler County commissioners agreed to a generous 90-day bailout, pending a more detailed agreement that would enable the county to absorb the 460-acre property yet leave the museum board at least nominally in place.
The questioning was another example of of the TDC’s more inquisitorial attitude toward local projects as opposed to a less rigorous or accountable approach when the applicant is an out-of-town organization, including for-profits.
County government absorbed the tourism office last fall and is spending big on it, raising staff pay, expanding staff, buying $300,000 worth of equipment and talking about raising the 4 percent sales tax supplement on short-term rentals to 5 percent.
County government’s tourism arm, which manages $1.6 million in tax dollars, is diminishing emphasis on community events to push sports and conferences which draw people without necessarily promoting the county.
The $40,000 in county tax dollars will help pay for rooms and food at a writers’ conference at Hammock Beach Resort, in hopes for good press in return. There is little evidence of such returns.
While the Spartan race appears set at a private ranch in Flagler next March, again, serious questions of transparency and patronage are undermining tiourism chief Matt Dunn’s latest approach.
Flagler government tourism chief Matt Dunn, an $82,000-a-year employee, owns a company that offers services similar to those he provides the county, raising questions of conflicts of interest.
An examination of the documents behind the Spartan Race proposed for Princess Place show tourism chief Matt Dunn repeatedly getting ahead of the process, showing little awareness of policy and protocols and virtually no appreciation for the political context that ultimately sank his biggest pet project to date.
County Administrator Craig Coffey, conceding to the outpouring of opposition to holding such a race at the preserve—and to a majority of county commissioners’ categorical opposition to the event there—informed commissioners Sunday that the race would be pulled.