S914: Buncombe County Occupancy Tax Modifications. Latest Version


Senate
Passed 1st Reading
Rules



AN ACT TO MODIFY THE BUNCOMBE COUNTY OCCUPANCY TAX.

The General Assembly of North Carolina enacts:

SECTION 1.  Sections 21 and 22 of Part VI of Chapter 908 of the 1983 Session Laws, as amended by Section 1 of Chapter 942 of the 1985 Session Laws, Section 1 of S.L. 2001‑162, Section 60(a) of S.L. 2013‑414, and Section 8 of S.L. 2015‑128, read as rewritten:

Sec. 21. Disposition of Taxes Collected. – (a) Buncombe County shall remit the net proceeds of the occupancy tax to the county Tourism Development Authority in Buncombe County. Net proceeds means gross proceeds less the cost to the county of administering and collecting the tax. The Authority may not use more than ten percent (10%)  of the funds distributed to it pursuant to this subsection for administrative expenses of the Authority.tax, not to exceed five percent (5%) of the gross proceeds collected each year.

(b)        The Authority may expend any funds distributed remitted to it pursuant to subsection (a) of this section only as follows:

(1)        Three‑fourths Two‑thirds of the funds may shall be used only (i) to further the development of travel, tourism, meetings and conventions events in the county through State, national, and international advertising marketing, advertising, sales, and promotion.promotion and (ii) for the administrative expenses of the Authority, not to exceed twenty percent (20%) of the net proceeds for the applicable fiscal year of the Authority. For purposes of this provision, administrative expenses shall include expenses of the Authority for salaries, benefits, operations, and facilities.

(2)        The Authority shall create a The remainder shall be split evenly between the following funds created by the Authority, with no portion of the remainder being used for operational expenses:

a.         The Tourism Product Development Fund and, in order to further economic development in the county, shall credit the remainder of the funds to the Tourism Product Development Fund. The purpose of the fund shall be Fund. The Authority shall use monies in the Fund to provide financial assistance for major tourism projects in order to significantly increase patronage of lodging facilities in in, and further economic development in, Buncombe County.

b.         The Legacy Investment From Tourism Fund. The Authority shall use monies in the Fund to provide financial assistance for tourism‑related projects that are designed to (i) increase patronage of lodging facilities, meeting facilities, and convention facilities by attracting tourists, business travelers, or both and (ii) benefit the community at large in Buncombe County.

(c)        The Authority shall administer and spend the funds in the Tourism Product Development Fund as follows:

(1)        The Authority shall create a Product Development Committee to review and evaluate proposals from applicants for tourism capital projects and to projects, including proposals for noncapital expenditures related to capital investments of past and future capital projects funded through the Tourism Product Development Fund. No proceeds may be used for operational expenses. The Product Development Committee shall make recommendations to the Authority regarding use and disposition of funds derived from the Tourism Product Development Fund. A for‑profit entity is not eligible to receive funds or loans from the Tourism Product Development Fund. Only upon recommendation of the Product Development Committee, and upon a vote of three‑fourths of the current voting members of the Authority to expend such funds, the Authority may award funds to qualified projects in the form of outright grants of money and may guarantee loans and participate in pledges of debt service for these projects. projects; provided, however, that no loan guarantee may exceed the amount committed from the Fund for the project. Projects must be located in Buncombe County unless the Commissioners of Buncombe County give specific approval to projects outside the county. Applicants must provide a feasibility study satisfactory to the Product Development Committee demonstrating the project's economic value to the area and the number of estimated new room nights it the project will generate.

(2)        To be a qualified project, a project must be expected to significantly increase patronage of lodging facilities in Buncombe County.

(3)        The Authority is not required to exhaust all of the funds generated each year and may accumulate money in order to create a revolving fund to further the purposes of this section. The Authority may not commit commit, for purposes of debt service service, a portion of the net funds in excess of thirty‑three percent (33%) of the average net funds received in any one year over a rolling three‑year average for a period of time in excess of 10 years. The Authority may not commit for purposes of debt service in excess of ten percent (10%) of net funds received in any one year for any single project.15 years for any one project. The Authority shall not be the sole funding source for any debt service.

(4)        The Product Development Committee need not be comprised solely of members of the Authority. A majority of the members of the Product Development Committee must be persons who are owners or operators of hotels, motels, or other taxable tourist accommodations.bed and breakfasts.

(d)       The Authority shall administer and spend the funds in the Legacy Investment From Tourism Fund as follows:

(1)        The Authority shall create a Legacy Investment From Tourism Committee to review and evaluate proposals from applicants for tourism‑related projects, including proposals for capital and noncapital expenditures and project administration, design, restoration, maintenance, and rehabilitation as well as enhancement of natural resources and expansion of necessary infrastructure. The Legacy Investment From Tourism Committee shall make recommendations to the Authority regarding use and disposition of funds derived from the Legacy Investment From Tourism Fund. A for‑profit entity is not eligible to receive funds or loans from the Legacy Investment From Tourism Fund. The Legacy Investment From Tourism Fund cannot be used for operational expenses. Only upon recommendation of the Legacy Investment From Tourism Committee, and upon a vote of three‑fourths of the current voting members of the Authority to expend such funds, the Authority may award funds to qualified projects in the form of outright grants of money and may guarantee loans and participate in pledges of debt service for these projects; provided, however, that no loan guarantee may exceed the amount committed from the Fund for the project. Projects must be located in Buncombe County unless the Commissioners of Buncombe County give specific approval to projects outside the county. Applicants must provide information as to how the project balances visitor and resident needs as part of the application process for a Legacy Investment From Tourism Fund project.

(2)        To be a qualified project, a project must be expected to (i) increase patronage of lodging facilities, meeting facilities, and convention facilities by attracting tourists, business travelers, or both and (ii) benefit the community at large in Buncombe County.

(3)        The Authority is not required to exhaust all of the funds generated each year and may accumulate money in order to create a revolving fund to further the purposes of this section. The Authority may not commit for purposes of debt service a portion of the net funds in excess of thirty‑three percent (33%) of the average net funds received over a rolling three‑year average for a period of time in excess of 15 years for any one project. The Authority shall not be the sole funding source for any debt service.

(4)        The Legacy Investment From Tourism Committee need not be comprised solely of members of the Authority. A majority of the members of the Legacy Investment From Tourism Committee must be persons who are owners or operators of hotels, motels, or bed and breakfasts.

Sec. 22. Appointment, Duties of Tourism Development Authority. – (a) When the board of county commissioners adopts a resolution levying a room occupancy tax pursuant to this Part, it shall also adopt a resolution creating a county Tourism Development Authority, which shall be a public authority under the Local Government Budget and Fiscal Control Act and shall be composed of the following 11 members:

(1)        A county commissioner appointed by the board of county commissioners, Buncombe County Board of Commissioners, who shall serve as an ex officio, nonvoting member;

(2)        A member of the Asheville City Council appointed by the board of county commissioners, Buncombe County Board of Commissioners, who shall serve as an ex officio, nonvoting member;

(3)        Six owners or operators of hotels, motels, bed and breakfasts, or vacation rental management companies, four of which own or operate hotels, motels, bed and breakfasts, or vacation rental management companies, or bed and breakfasts, with more than 100 rental units, two of whom shall be appointed by the Asheville City Council and two by the board of county commissioners; Buncombe County Board of Commissioners; and two one of which own or operate owns or operates hotels, motels, bed and breakfasts, or vacation rental management companies, with 100 or fewer rental units, one of whom who shall be appointed by the Asheville City Council Council; and one of which owns or operates hotels, motels, or bed and breakfasts with 100 or fewer rental units, who shall be appointed by the board of county commissioners;Buncombe County Board of Commissioners.

(4)        Three individuals actively involved in the tourist business who have participated in tourism promotion and do not own or operate hotels, motels, or other taxable tourist accommodations, promotion, appointed as follows: one by the Asheville City Council, one by the Asheville Area Chamber of Commerce, and one by the board of county commissioners.one vacation rental owner or vacation rental management company owner appointed by the Buncombe County Board of Commissioners; one executive from a ticketed tourist attraction appointed by the Asheville Area Chamber of Commerce; and one restaurant owner, owner of a brewery, distillery, or winery open for tours or tastings, or executive director of a ticketed arts organization appointed by the Asheville City Council.

All members of the Authority shall serve without compensation. Vacancies in the Authority shall be filled by the appointing authority of the member creating the vacancy. Members appointed to fill vacancies shall serve for the remainder of the unexpired term for which they are appointed to fill. Members shall serve three‑year terms, except the initial members who shall serve the following terms:

(1)        members appointed pursuant to subdivisions (1) and (2) above shall serve one‑year terms;

(2)        of the members appointed pursuant to subdivision (3) above, one appointee of the city council and the board of commissioners shall serve a two‑year term and one appointee of the city council and the board of commissioners shall serve a three‑year term, as designated by the city council and board of county commissioners;

(3)        of the three members appointed pursuant to subdivision (4) above, the appointee of the Asheville City Council shall serve a one‑year term, the appointee of the Asheville Area Chamber of Commerce shall serve a two‑year term, and the appointee of the board of county commissioners shall serve a three‑year term.

Members terms and may serve no more than two consecutive terms. The members shall elect a chair, who shall serve for a term of two years. The Authority shall meet at the call of the chair and shall adopt rules of procedure to govern its meetings. The finance officer for Buncombe County shall be the ex officio finance officer of the Authority.



(d)       The following definitions apply in this section:

(1)        Vacation Rental Management Company. – A corporate entity having at least five rental units that are available for rent in Buncombe County for more than sixty percent (60%) of the days in the calendar year.

(2)        Vacation Rental Management Company Owner. – The owner of a corporate entity having at least five rental units that are available for rent in Buncombe County for more than sixty percent (60%) of the days in the calendar year.

(3)        Vacation Rental Owner. – The owner of at least one vacation rental unit in Buncombe County, registered in compliance with all local and State laws, that is available for rent for more than sixty percent (60%) of the days in the calendar year.

SECTION 2.  Section 1 of this act becomes effective July 1, 2022. Current members of the Authority at the time of the effective date of this act shall serve out their remaining terms prior to the appointments contemplated herein. The remainder of this act is effective when it becomes law.