CANNON BEACH - The commission that will distribute Cannon Beach's extra 1 percent lodging tax will not contain a majority of lodging representatives, as originally proposed.

Instead, the Tourism and Arts Commission will be composed of representatives who have experience in promoting tourism, marketing, event promotions, lodging and public relations.

In a work session Tuesday night, the Cannon Beach City Council, along with representatives of area hotels, compromised on the commission's make up. The compromise broke a stalemate that could have delayed the collection of the tax, which will be spent to promote the city to tourists and local arts projects.

The additional 1 percent tax on lodging, which is expected to take effect in May after the council approves the proposal at its May 4 meeting, would provide an estimated $300,000 to the city. State law requires that 70 percent, or $210,000, must be spent on tourist-related promotions. The remaining 30 percent could go to the city's general fund.

While lodging industry representatives haven't objected to the tax, many supported a proposal that the five-member commission distributing the funds to nonprofit organizations contain three members from local hotels or vacation rental companies. In previous council meetings, they argued that they knew how to promote the city to attract overnight visitors and would be better able to determine which funding requests would do the job.

However, City Councilors expressed concern about establishing a committee that was weighted toward one industry. They also considered suggestions that membership consist of three lodging representatives and three at-large representatives or five at-large members.

Councilor Nancy Giasson then suggested that the council consider membership patterned after the city's design review board, which requires that five of its seven members have experience in "design-related fields," such as architecture, landscaping, city planning and visual arts.

"This is the only way I could approve a committee that is weighted in any way," Giasson said. "It should be about the members' expertise."

Jeff Hampton, president of the Oregon Lodging Association, said he agreed that members with specific expertise should be appointed to the commission. "That's why I supported including members of the lodging industry; they have the expertise in marketing and lodging," Hampton said.

That expertise, he added, "drives overnight stays, which drives spending, which helps the arts."

But Valerie Ryan, co-chairwoman of the Cannon Beach Business Associates, which was organized to promote Cannon Beach during the off-season, said the commission is not meant to act as an adviser for applicants seeking the lodging tax proceeds. The commission should expect a promotion plan that "is absolutely complete," she said.

Applicants will have to meet guidelines that show their projects will comply with state law regarding tourist-related activities, demonstrate that the projects will have an economic impact, attract overnight stays and promote the arts. They also must show that the projects are feasible, that they will follow a budget and they will collaborate with other businesses and organizations.

While the council reached a consensus that the Tourism and Arts Commission would include members with experience in promotion of tourism, lodging and events, it didn't suggest that members have experience in the arts.

"If this is successful in promoting tourism, it will benefit the arts community," said Mayor Mike Morgan. "We don't need someone to represent the arts."


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