(Beaver Dam) With the first of the year, the city of Beaver Dam now has a Tourism Commission. The common council in November approved the creation of the commission. The latest state budget requires all municipalities to establish such an entity for tourism promotion and development. As part of the agreement, the Chamber’s Visitors and Hospitality Committee will be designated as the Tourism Commission. Wisconsin Act 55 also mandates that a certain portion of room tax revenues – the money generated from the hotel/motel bed tax – be directed to local tourism. The city, however, is currently in the middle of a 20-year agreement with the Beaver Dam Area Development Corporation, a public-private economic development entity tasked with attracting new businesses. The agreement directs 90-percent of room tax revenues to the Development Corp and the remaining 10-percent to the Chamber. City Finance Director John Somers says the city averages around $135-thousand annually. Once the contract between the city and Development Corp ends in 2023, $100-thousand dollars in room tax funds would have to go toward tourism (or 30-percent whichever is greater). The Development Corp has $110-thousand earmarked in the 2017 budget and that number would decrease to around $100-thousand dollars in seven years. Somers says members of the Development Corp have indicated to the city that they understand the changes in law and they are good with the numbers.
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