WASHINGTON — The city will send $15,000 to the Peoria Area Convention and Visitors Bureau for tourism services during 2018.
With a unanimous vote without comment Monday, the City Council approved the payment and went along with the bureau's request for the lump sum instead of relying on revenue from a 1 percent increase in the city's hotel-motel tax that went into effect in 2009 after bureau officials pitched the idea.
Washington City Administrator Jim Culotta said a hotel's delinquent hotel-motel tax payments have caused revenue from the tax to fall from $80,170 in the city's 2015-2016 fiscal year to $62,704 in 2016-2017 and an estimated $65,000 in the 2017-2018 fiscal year, which will end April 30.
There's been a corresponding decrease in the city's payment to the bureau.
After receiving from $11,615 to $14,791 for the 2009-2010 through 2015-2016 fiscal years, the bureau saw its funding from the city fall to $6,617 in the 2016-2017 fiscal year and it was $5,173 for 2017-2018 as of early this month.
Washington establishments with 10 or more rooms have a 6 percent hotel/motel tax. Those with fewer than 10 rooms have a 5 percent hotel/motel tax and are exempt from the 1 percent increase.
Revenue from the hotel/motel tax goes into the city's general fund.
Bureau board member Sherril West of Washington told the council on April 2 the bureau didn't want its funding from the city tied to the hotel/motel tax this year, so it asked for the $15,000 lump sum.
"I can assure you the city is getting its money worth" from the bureau, West said, noting promotions, purchases by the bureau from city businesses, and an offer to provide 10 half-price co-ops for city businesses ($75 instead of $150 annually).
Mayor Gary Manier reminded alderman on April 2 that the bureau reimbursed the city $20,798 from payments made to the bureau during the 2013-2014, 2014-2015 and 2015-2016 fiscal years to help the city recover from the 2013 tornado.
If the 1 percent hotel/motel tax increase produces more than $15,000 in revenue this calendar year, that will be the city's payment to the bureau.
Also at Monday's council meeting, aldermen:
- Approved a 2.5 percent pay increase for non-union city employees for the 2018-2019 fiscal year, matching the increase received through contract negotiations by the Washington Police Department's patrol officers and full-time dispatchers.
Three city department heads — controller, public works director and planning and development director — have been removed from the non-union pay plan and will be eligible for merit-based pay increases determined by the city administrator.
Employment agreements address the salary for the chief of police and city administrator.
Culotta said no change will be needed in the city's 2018-2019 budget to accommodate the non-union pay increases.
- Approved the 2018-2019 city budget, which calls for spending $23.6 million, about $4 million more than anticipated revenues.
Steve Stein can be reached at 686-3114 or firstname.lastname@example.org. Follow him on Twitter @SpartanSteve.