James City, Williamsburg and York officials will discuss the sales tax bill in a public meeting Tuesday morning in James City.
Members of the James City Board of Supervisors are expected to be joined by their counterparts in Williamsburg and York to discuss tourism funding and other topics related to the implementation of Senate Bill 942, according to a James City County news release.
The Historic Triangle localities first convened a task force to further study and discuss the legislation in a May meeting in Williamsburg. The task force’s elected officials consist of James City board Chairwoman Ruth Larson and Supervisor Michael Hipple, York board Chairwoman Sheila Noll and Supervisor Jeff Wassmer and Williamsburg City Council Mayor Paul Freiling and Vice Mayor Scott Foster.
SB 942 would raise the sales tax by 1 percent in Williamsburg, James City and York. Half of the total revenue would be used by the Greater Williamsburg Chamber and Tourism Alliance to market the region to overnight tourists through the new Historic Triangle Marketing Fund. The other half of the revenue would be allocated to the Historic Triangle localities based on where the tax was collected.
The meeting will be held at 8 a.m. Tuesday in Building D of the county administration offices, the release states.
There’s no scheduled public comment period, according to the meeting agenda provided by Interim James City County Administrator Bill Porter.
The officials, which will include elected officials and staff, are expected to discuss a job description for the professional officer to be put in charge of the Historic Triangle Marketing and Promotion office, Porter wrote in an email.
The marketing office, which is to be headed by a “professional with extensive experience in marketing or advertising and in the tourism industry,” will administer the fund’s marketing campaign. The office is to operate under the direction of the tourism council, a subcommittee of the alliance made up of elected officials and representatives from tourism entities like Colonial Williamsburg and Busch Gardens, according to the bill.
The officials are also scheduled to discuss a draft plan to transition from the Williamsburg Area Destination Marketing Committee to the new Historic Triangle Marketing Fund. The Williamsburg Area Destination Marketing Committee currently markets the region to tourist using funds from the $2 transient occupancy tax, Porter wrote. The committee is part of the alliance.
A fiscal impact statement released with the version of the bill originally passed the General Assembly in February projected $24.5 million in revenue in fiscal year 2019 due to the sales tax bill.
The legislation was later amended to exempt groceries from the tax and to retain the $2 transient occupancy tax, which was proposed to be eliminated under the previous version of the bill.
A current fiscal impact statement hasn’t been made publically available. An aide for Sen. Thomas K. “Tommy” Norment didn’t respond to multiple inquiries about an updated fiscal impact statement. Norment, R-James City, introduced the bill in the Senate.
Localities have made their own projections based on the most recent version of the bill. James City estimates approximately $4.9 million due to the amended SB 942, while Williamsburg expects $2.5 million and York projects $4.6 million in revenue.
Williamsburg City Council repealed increases to the meals tax, $2 transient occupancy tax and an admissions tax as part of the Tourism Development Fund May 10. The repeal set the stage for SB 942 to be put into effect after the General Assembly passed the amended legislation in April.
SB 942 goes into effect July 1. Instructions related to the requirements of the new tax are being sent via mail to affected businesses, according to a state department of taxation news release.
Want to go?
When: 8 a.m. Tuesday, May 22.
Where: 101 Mounts Bay Road, Building D.
Jacobs can be reached by phone at 757-298-6007.
12:40 p.m. May 18: This story was updated with additional information from Interim James City County Adminstrator Bill Porter and further details about the legislation.
This story was originally published 5:35 p.m. May 16.