My comments about the Anson County Tourism Development Authority (TDA) have been attributed to me being unhappy with not receiving $400 for an art contest by Anson Art League. During the public forum of the Anson County Board of Commissioners’ December meeting, I brought attention to the 2001 law that created the TDA and the room tax that’s not being followed. I did not go before the BOC to complain about an art contest. Yes, I was upset about the TDA’s decision that the art contest was not worthy of funding and so I decided to investigate what the law about the TDA really says.
As a tourism-related business owner, I have been unhappy with how the TDA operates and promotes this county for many years. But going along with what everyone else was doing — nothing — I’ve kept quiet for years. When I read what the law really says I had to bring it to the Board of Commissioners’ attention. It was difficult for me to do but I did it because it’s important to our county and to our businesses.
Researching the law that created the room tax and TDA board in 2001 (HB 685) was very enlightening. The law says that the duties of the TDA board are to expend the net proceeds collected from the room tax for tourism-related promotion and expenditures. (Net proceeds is room tax collected less any amount charged for administration by the county). If the TDA board was spending the money as the law states, how did they end up with over $80,000 in a bank account? Further, according to the law, three-fourths of the TDA board members are supposed to be in a tourism-related business and one-third in a business that collects room tax. If you’re in a tourism-related business, you’d realize how important promotion and marketing is for the success of your business. If you’re not in a tourism-related business, you don’t really appreciate the necessity for promotion. Sure, the TDA board members are all very nice people but too many of them are not in tourism-related businesses and don’t know tourism, marketing, promotion or publicity. So why in the world is $80,000 sitting in an account? Because they don’t know what to do and because, somewhere over the years, they became convinced that only projects resulting in “heads in beds” would be eligible for funding. However, the law does not state that “heads in beds” is a requirement for funding.
As a local business owner, it disturbs me that this disregard of the law has been affecting people’s livelihoods and this county and its success for years. I don’t know why I’m the only one who seems concerned about this issue. Anson County doesn’t generate a lot of room tax but what it does generate needs to be used wisely for all our benefit — for our businesses, for our citizens and for a county we can be proud of. That’s why the room tax and TDA was created — to generate money to be used to promote visitors and tourism to our county to benefit our county. Please speak to your County Board of Commissioners; they’re the law of the land. It’s in their power to make the right thing happen. Am I wrong in thinking it’s their responsibility to the businesses and citizens of this county?
The Forever Inn B&B