Superior Pushes Decision On Tourism Commission Down The Road
The proposal to create a new commission for tourist development will be on hold for a little while longer. After a lengthy and spirit comment and debate session at the September 7 meeting, the Superior City Council decided to refer the decision to a Committee of the Whole at a later date.
At issue is how the City of Superior spends the hotel and motel room taxes it collects. The law determines that the city is required to "turn over 70 percent of revenue generates by hotel and motel taxes to a commission or entity for the express purpose of promoting and developing tourism that results in overnight stays". The current set-up has Superior contracting with Travel Superior - an entity that is financed by a consortium made up of the City of Superior, Douglas County, and state tourism grants.
If the city moves to create a Tourist Development Commission instead to handle the decisions, that could put the current dynamics into flux. In many ways, the situation is similar (but not exactly the same) as the questions currently facing Duluth and Visit Duluth.
The Superior Telegram reports that the impetus for a potential change came from Superior Mayor Jim Paine. He drafted a proposal "after learning many Wisconsin communities utilize a commission rather than sending the money directly to a tourism entity like Travel Superior". That original proposal collected enough support through the finance committee to pass 2-1 last month.
Whatever the decision ends up being and whoever ends up in charge, they'll oversee a time period that has the potential to bring change. "The City of Superior and the Development Association have launched a feasibility study that could lead to building a convention center in Superior". While a convention center has been discussed a lot over the last 20 years or so, the chances of it coming to fruition seem closer as of late.
The decision to put a vote on the Tourist Development Commission will push a future vote to the committee of the whole. A date for that discussion hasn't been set. However, Superior Mayor Jim Paine has said that he "would likely give the committee of the whole the power to act, which would allow the council to create the commission at that meeting".