Enterprise Florida and Visit Florida are two tax-supported state agencies that act more like slush funds, wasting money behind secretive veils and returns on investment that have never lived up to the promise.
tourist development council
Flagler County commissioners agreed today to deplete a $1.5 million fund for beach management as part of a match to draw down state dollars, but none of the money would benefit Flagler Beach, angering officials there.
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.
Flagler County commissioners heard sobering costs of repairing 18 miles of beaches but a “unified” plan local cities, state and federal agencies can agree to is entirely lacking.
The spending authorizations depart in one way or another from county or tourism council policy and underscore to what extent the paper trail behind tourism office spending has been thinning out over the past two years.
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’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.
Palm Coast Little League organizers say the way the city is booting them off Indian Trails Sports Complex fields for a for-profit tournament is a violation of a contractual agreement that defines how the city may go about doing so. City Manager Jim Landon disagrees.
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.