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Visitor´s Bureau Fights To Keep Funding

Allies of Tuolumne County tourism filled the supervisors chambers Tuesday morning to rally support from board members not to cap the Visitor’s Bureau’s current portion of promotional dollars.

The administration has recommended a cap on the amount of room tax revenue that can be used for that purpose.

Visitor’s Bureau board member David Duval told supervisors that it´s in the interest of the county not to place a ceiling on funding coming from the TOT. Duval says tourism is a good business for the county.

“It´s a business that we already enjoy, and quite frankly we enjoy it at higher percentages and at higher growing volumes than any other area of the Sierras,” Duval said. “People like coming here.”

Duval cited a recent survey that shows for every dollar of transient occupancy tax being spent by the Visitor’s Bureau today to promote tourism, the county gets back about $1,000 in revenue and about $10 in taxes.

The supervisors all agree tourism is important, but not everyone feels the money should go into the Visitor’s Bureau’s coffers.

Robert White spoke before the supervisors Tuesday. He asked a question of the board: “If the Visitors Bureau gets $300,000 a year, the county and city’s money combined, why not everybody else? Why not every other significant economic influence in Tuolumne County?”

County Administrator C. Brent Wallace, who says publicly he is a proponent of county tourism, suggested the cap on the bed tax revenue. Wallace says he is concerned the county will find it hard this fiscal year to adequately fund all the county’s programs, with the state budget crisis at hand.

“I’m faced with an overwhelming budget that I haven’t seen since 1992,” Wallace said yesterday. Right now, the county’s proposed budget has no money to help fund the Mother Lode Round, Arts Council, or other area events and organizations, Wallace says.