The Norman Transcript

Government

March 29, 2013

Hotel tax taps into outside income

(Continued)

NORMAN —

Additionally, NCVB works with the city in branding Norman — creating a positive image of the city that will attract businesses and other ventures as well as tourists.

The other half of the hotel tax is divided evenly between the Norman Arts Council and Norman Parks and Recreation.

The guest tax collected in FY 2012, which ran from July 1, 2011, until June 30, 2012, totaled more than $1.1 million. Raising the rate by 1 percent would translate to an additional $284,000.

According to the Oklahoma Tourism Recreation Department’s most current data, for every dollar spent on destination marketing, visitors will spend $59.

“When visitors come to Norman and spend their money at our businesses, it increases the city’s sales tax collections, which means more money for the basics like law enforcement, road repair and firefighters,” Koranda said.

Presently, the Norman CVB has the smallest operating budget of any CVB in the Big 12 conference.

The Norman Arts Council uses its hotel/motel funds to contribute to community events such as Jazz in June along with helping fund Sooner Theatre and the Firehouse Art Center, which provide arts education.

“The Norman Arts Council has been an excellent steward of these funds for the past 30-plus years and has used them to create a positive and substantial impact on Norman,” said Erinn Gavaghan, the NAC’s executive director.

Officials with the Norman Parks and Recreation Department said the additional money could be spent on court surfacing and new youth courts at the Westwood Tennis Center, which hosted a number of U.S. Tennis Association tournaments last year.

Other park improvements that could receive a boost from the tax include improvements to the Saxon Memorial Park, trail improvements, bleachers and additional parking at Reaves Park, additional parking and soccer field lighting at Griffin Park and improved event shelters and playgrounds.

Stephanie Brickman, communications manager of the Norman convention and Visitors Bureau contributed to this article.

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