A few observations regarding the Maple Leaf CVC/CVB budget discussed in the following article posted on the Brown County Democrat website:
- Feb 28, 2018. Brown County Democrat. Sharing the wealth: Visitors bureau, Maple Leaf group trying to budget innkeepers tax revenue
- Budget Projections: Maple-Leaf-Projections as of 20180228
- Maple Leaf started out as “their” (CVC) project funded with “their “money. “They” determined the type of investment (music venue), size, scope, cost, management structure, and location. The project was sold as “too good to fail.”
- Consequently, commissioners and council justified their decision NOT to hold specific public hearings on the desirability and feasibility of this project. Now it is acknowledged that yes indeed, this is a government-owned venue to be managed by a government-run agency. Interesting shift – so if the project runs into problems and does not live up to expectations, blame “the government” as opposed to the CVC, CVB et.al. ? Transfer the liability to the taxpayers?
Throughout the “marketing” of the Maple Leaf, the fact that this would be a government-owned and managed venue was NOT a major emphasis. In fact, the President of the county council stated that the revenue from the innkeepers’ tax was “their (CVC) money” and the council vote was just to approve the funding option. Commissioners also adopted a similar theme — they were just passing a resolution to support the funding option.
The President of the council also stated that if the project failed, the county would NOT assume liability for the debt. This would allow the bank to sell the venue to a private developer (at what would very likely be at a bargain price, e.g, too good to turn down).
The Commissioners and Council REFUSED to hold any specific public meetings to ask for citizen input on the desirability and feasibility of this project. In fact, prior to their vote, the president of the council instructed the audience to limit their comments to “30 seconds” but he did allow for longer comments.
In the print version of the paper (Feb 28, 2018, edition), there was an acknowledgment that Maple Leaf is a “government-owned music venue.” Another statement in the article made by the project leader — Barry Herring: “Once we’re up and running for 10 years, we paid all of our bills, we’re a government-run agency.“ Why aren’t they a government-run agency now?
Another interesting point is that up until the final approval by the commissioners, the revenue from the innkeeper’s tax was going to be used to pay the mortgage and profits would be made available to the county. The last-minute change was that “profits” will first be used to apply to the mortgage and cover operating expenses. The revenue from the innkeeper’s tax would be used if profits are not sufficient.
How is the “wealth” being shared?