City of Del Mar delays creating tourism panel
As the Del Mar City Council weighs and measures projects and priorities for the upcoming year, perhaps none gave it less time to decide than the proposed Del Mar Tourism Business Improvement District.
Simple fix, the council just gave itself some more.
A request was made to approve creating a tourism marketing body by March 22, meaning the city would have had to devote staff time for the process beginning this month. The six hotels in the city are asking Del Mar to increase the transit occupancy tax by 1 percent in order for them to create this campaign.
“It seems pretty obvious council is not ready to go forward with this,” Councilwoman Crystal Crawford said. “We’ve got issues that we discussed on Friday at our council retreat about timing of various projects, and this was on the list. It seems that we should, out of consideration for proponents, let them know we’re going to need to work on this a little more.”
There are six hotels in Del Mar, all who are in support of this measure. Michael Slosser, vice president and managing director of L’Auberge Del Mar, said he understands if the council would like more time to consider.
“That’s fine if they need to get more comfortable with the mechanics of it,” he said. “We’ll just continue to move forward and work with the city.”
The 1 percent increase would produce an estimated $130,000 for the hotel board. Council members expressed concern this would not be enough money to accomplish the outlined goals, but Slosser said at least it’s something.
“It’s a good starting point: the higher our occupancy, the higher the rate. It’s a win, win,” he said.
Exactly 75 percent of the money would be spent on the marketing and promotional campaign for Del Mar. The remainder would be split between operating costs and what Slosser called a grant gift to the Del Mar Village Association, which has agreed to take on administrative tasks for the program.
If adopted by a council vote, the hotels would enter into a five-year commitment to run this board. There is an alternative for a one-year deal, but John Lambeth, a consultant hired by the Del Mar hotels, said that is not enough time to measure success.
“A one-year district doesn’t make a lot of sense,” he said.
Still, the council would like to hear this from him before devoting resources it would rather use for projects like the form-based code, pilot program and an request for proposals for a new city hall. Lambeth said staff time should be minimal because he has already drafted what is needed.
- Tourism tax proposal set for fall ballot
- TOT hike set for November ballot
- Tourism marketing ordinance officially rescinded
- City of Del Mar ready to ‘ride out the storm’
- Yes on Proposition H
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