Supervisors approve county code change related to sales tax bill

jojacobs@vagazette.com

The James City Board of Supervisors OK’d an amendment to the county code to redirect transient occupancy tax revenue to the Historic Triangle Marketing Fund Tuesday.

The change comes as part of Senate Bill 942, which establishes the Greater Williamsburg Chamber and Tourism Alliance’s Tourism Council, which will use the Historic Triangle Marketing Fund to market the region to overnight tourists. Previously, the transient occupancy tax revenue was directed to the chamber’s Williamsburg Area Destination Marketing Committee, Assistant County Attorney Liz Parman said.

The Williamsburg Area Destination Marketing Committee, which currently markets the region to tourists, is being phased out in favor of the new Tourism Council.

Supervisors voted unanimously to amend the county code without discussion. Chairwoman Ruth Larson was absent from the meeting.

No county residents spoke during the public hearing that preceded the vote.

Half of the transient occupancy tax revenue will be allocated to marketing and advertising by the chamber, while the other half will be allocated to James City, Williamsburg and York based on where the tax was collected.

Williamsburg’s projected revenue in fiscal year 2019 due to the transient occupancy tax is $565,000. James City expects about $400,000 and York expects to generate about $500,000.

James City’s code amendment brings the Historic Triangle Marking Fund one step closer to operation. Senate Bill 942 created the fund as a way to market Williamsburg, James City and York to overnight tourists. The bill increased the sales tax rate in those localities by 1 percent, and that revenue is also split between the fund and the localities in which it is collected.

The city expects to collect $1.9 million thanks to the sales tax increase. James City looks to generate $4.5 million and York projects $4.1 million.

York expects to follow suit at the York Board of Supervisors’ meeting on July 17, York County Administrator Neil Morgan said in a phone interview prior to the meeting. The county code amendment would reflect the change to state law prompted by Senate Bill 942.

“It’s a state law and what we do is mirror it,” he said, adding that its his recommendation to the York board to amend York’s code.

Williamsburg City Council approved a similar amendment to the city code when it voted to repeal tax increases related to the city’s Tourism Development Fund in May. Tax increases as part of the Tourism Development Fund had to be repealed to allow Senate Bill 942 to take effect.

In other news, the board voted unanimously to approve a contractor for a artificial turf field replacement project at Warhill Sports Complex.

FieldTurf will replace seven artificial turf fields at the complex for $2.9 million. The project was included in the county’s fiscal year 2019 budget at a cost of $3.1 million.

FieldTurf installed six of the seven fields due for replacement in 2007. The fields have reached the end of their useful life and are due for replacement. The company was one of five to respond to the county’s request for proposal, James City Parks and Recreation Director John Carnifax said.

The complex is regularly used by youth sports organizations, such as Virginia Legacy Soccer Club, as well as Williamsburg-James City County Public Schools for games, practices and band competitions. An average of 30 tournaments and special events are held at the complex every year, according to the RFP.

Jacobs can be reached by phone at 757-298-6007.

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