Leon County Plans for Decrease in Tourist Development Tax Revenue, Proposes Cuts

Leon County Plans for Decrease in Tourist Development Tax Revenue, Proposes Cuts

At their meeting on April 14, the County Commissioners reviewed a report on the impact of COVID-19 on Tourist Development Tax (TDT) revenue, which funds the Leon County Division of Tourism and the Council on Culture and Arts (COCA).

TDT is collected on overnight stays in Leon County. According to the report, Leon County taxes at the full five percent authorized by state statute had projected $5.9 million in TDT revenue in FY 2020.

Social distancing as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic has decreased TDT revenue, requiring both the Division of Tourism and COCA to adjust their budgets.

According to the report, a reduction of $2.088 million in TDT revenue is projected for FY 2020. Approximately, $1.65 million of this (80 percent) would support the County’s Division of Tourism, and $435,021 (20 percent) would support COCA.

The report notes that these projections will likely be modified and that they assume a gradual return to normal travel patterns beginning in August and September.

The report includes a list of reductions in the Division of Tourism’s expenditures aligning with its anticipated $1.65 million shortfall.

Expenditure Category / Reduction Amount

Zimmerman Marketing Advertising Services $40,000
Paid Advertising, Media Buys and Digital Production Initiatives $780,013
Zimmerman Public Relations Services & Programming $85,000
Downs & St. Germain Research Services $16,000
Scott Carswell LLC Concert Services $10,000
Ampitheater Concert Fund $145,931
Visitor Center Lease on Jefferson Street $6,500
Staff Travel and Training $52,731
Event Grants & Aid $203,758
Sponsorships & Promotions $143,498
Office Operational Expenses $87,280
Miscellaneous Services $78,500

COCA will also need to make budget cuts to deal with its $435,021 shortfall.

According to the report, “At the time of this writing, COCA’s Executive Director reported making a series of budget cuts and is preparing for further reductions of fixed costs. COCA’s Executive Director plans to utilize COCA’s reserve balance to keep the arts organization operating as needed, under the guidance of its Board of Directors, and does not anticipate staff reductions at this time.”

COCA is also developing a financial action plan and will share it with the Board of County Commissioners when it is complete.

11 Responses to "Leon County Plans for Decrease in Tourist Development Tax Revenue, Proposes Cuts"

  1. Tallahassee Democrat reports today that there are 2400 non-profits in Leon County. Why on earth would we need a children’s services tax?

    1. Exactly BUT, that is not even close to the Problems we will have IF it passes. The will have NO Accountability and NO Oversight. They can spend the Money as they wish and get more if they run out also by raising our Property Tax. Google for the article about what Commissioner Bryan Desloge has to say about it. A Must Read.

  2. Staff Travel and Training $52,731
    Miscellaneous Services $78,500

    Now there are a couple of line items that need serious auditing. At what point, exactly, are staff fully trained anyway? They’re clearly well-trained in the field of spending money, that’s for certain. Miscellaneous Services is just another way of saying Slush Fund.

        1. BUT, isn’t it already slatted to be on the Ballot. If so, you know it will be worded to make every one WANT to Vote for it.

  3. Hopefully, the TDC or whatever it’s called now, was able to build a reserve for times like this.
    I’m guessing not, though.

  4. The TDT needs to be totally eliminated for the next 5 years to help our hospitality industry recover.
    All those benefactors of the TDT will need to either become self funded or just disappear as unnecessary local fluff.
    Hold some bake sales, sell some T Shirts, put on an event the public is willing to pay admission to attend…or shut ’em down.
    Snidely has spoken.
    And BTW theres a lot of other “local fluff” thats gonna need to become self funded or shut the eff down.
    And further more we need to trim The City and County Commisioners down to 2 members each. In the City the Mayor will be the 3rd tie-breaker vote.
    This is what recovery from Covid-19 is gonna look like.
    Oh we are gonna need a 30% reduction in property tax for the next 5 years too. And a 30% reduction in City and County employees.
    Garbage collection needs to scale back in the City to every 2 weeks.
    We will need to eliminate a lot of non essential stuff due to this economic shut down.

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