With a brief discussion followed by a unanimous vote Thursday morning, the City Council abolished the Hotel/Motel Tax Oversight Committee.
The committee, in it’s current eight-member form has met monthly since its establishment in 2014 through the adoption of City Ordinance 2048.
Thursday’s vote repealed that statute, effectively ending the committee.
Henceforth, all applications for HOT Funds will be presented directly to the council, a reality some of the council members aren’t looking forward to.
The action came after Mayor Pro Tem Leon Pope, who chaired the now-defunct committee, said it was a unanimous decision at the group’s last meeting to dissolve.
Councilman Sherrill Lindsey questioned the move.
“I sure like these applications going to that board before they come to us,” he said.
Pope said 90 percent of applications are presented to the council anyway, because few organizations request less than the $2,000 maximum the committee was allowed to approved without consent by the council.
“The City Attorney looks them over before we see them,” he said. “And the committee doesn’t want to meet anymore.”
Council member Mary Valdonado said she had previously served on the board and “we didn’t have any problems, but I understand they are having some issues now.”
Councilman Chuck Nave was in favor of the council having more say in the dissemination of HOT Funds for legal reasons.
“Even with the board making decisions, the legality of handling those funds falls back to the council, not the committee,” he said.
He also said annual events should not be made to apply every year.
“Some cities look at this at the start of the year and if they have recurring events, they just budget those in,” he said. “The Harvest Festival and Car Show and things like that, we can pull those applications each year and approve them, then just look at the new stuff when we need to.”
Mayor Tom Hesse said he would prefer that applications come to the council as they did prior to the establishment of the oversight committee.
Pope made a motion to abolish the committee and Nave seconded, with the vote carrying unanimously.