Maple Leaf – Question for Candidates

Five Basic Facts
  • Maple Leaf required the approval of the Commissioners, Council and CVC. CVC members are appointed by the Council and Commissioners. Keith Baker (Council) and Diana Biddle (Commissioner) were the advocates and leaders for this project on behalf of their colleagues.
  • CVC/CVB  members identified the type of investment that would be made (music venue), the size, scope, location, and financing. They also took the lead in informing the public of their decision.
  • Commissioners approved the funding for the legal expenses associated with the project of approximately ($30K).
  • Revenue from the Innkeepers tax- which is being used as collateral for the  12.5 million dollar loan,  is a county “government” asset.  Innkeepers cannot assess a tax (requires state government), appoint themselves to the CVC (requires appointment by council and commissioners (elected county government officials), account for the revenue (requires county government auditor/treasurer).  The CVC cannot review and approve their budget (county council responsibility).
  • AT NO TIME did the commissioners or council advertise or announce an official public meeting to ask for citizen input on the desirability and feasibility of this project. Discussions could have included identifying other investment options.

QUESTION FOR CANDIDATES

Should the commissioners and council have held public meetings to ask for input from the citizens on the desirability and feasibility of the Maple Leaf project?  If so, why?  If not, why not?

Are changes also needed to the Brown County Innkeepers Tax?  Revenue from the innkeeper’s tax must be used to promote tourism.   The majority of CVC members have to represent innkeepers.  Tourism categories include art, history, agritourism, education, culture/preservation, wellness, mountain biking, wine, craft beer, spirits (hard liquor), and entertainment, e.g., just about anything.

Maple Leaf Project – For The Record. Chronology of events.

The Maple Leaf Music Venue and Performing Arts Center is to be a government-owned and managed venue.  The County Commissioners and County Council declined to answer questions or hold public hearings to listen to input from citizens regarding their concerns and desirability of the project.  Reference:   Maple Leaf Project – For The Record. Chronology of events.

The proposed project was announced on June 20, 2017. Final approval by the commissioners was on December 20, 2017. Although taxpayers may not be obligated for the 12.5 million debt, this could change in the future.

Question. How does the process used to fast-track the Maple Leaf project align with the Independent Voters Platform and Principles of  Transparency, Fiscal Management, Planning, Assessment, Continuous Learning, and Collaboration?

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