At least for a while, new-look CVB would have to partner with an existing non-profit in order to access lodging tax revenue

    By the time the Crookston City Council meets again later this month, a contingent of managers and owners of local lodging facilities say they’ll be ready to present their proposal for a revamped Convention & Visitors’ Bureau with local hotels and motels having more control of how local lodging tax revenue is invested in promoting events in the community.

    That was the word from Lisa Tadd, Cobblestone Inn general manager, at this week’s Crookston City Council’s Ways & Means Committee meeting. She was joined by Cory Dallager, general manager of AmericInn Hotel & Suites. Their group also includes Laurie Stahlecker, general manager of the Crookston Inn & Convention Center, and Kelly Shea, owner of the Golf Terrace Motel.

    At the council’s April 27 meeting, the lodging contingent asked the council to remove the CVB from underneath the Crookston Area Chamber of Commerce umbrella because they want more representation and more say in the CVB mission and lodging tax revenue spending decisions.

    As Dallager put it on April 27, the goal needs to be promoting and investing in events in Crookston that result in “more heads on beds” and, in turn, benefit other businesses in the community.

    In the wake of the April 27 request, the Chamber’s Executive Board met and, last week, Chamber Executive Director Terri Heggie submitted a letter to the City requesting that the Chamber’s contract with the City be terminated, a move that would separate the Chamber and CVB.

    The Chamber’s contract with the City automatically renews every July 1 unless one of the parties moves for a termination. Interim City Administrator Angel Weasner said this week that she’s going to spend the next 30 to 60 days digging into the nuances of the lodging tax situation with the Chamber and CVB and, she hopes, figure out a solution that’s workable for all stakeholders. Weasner added that she’s hoping it takes her closer to 30 days, and not 60.

    Whatever path is chosen going forward, it’s going to require a non-profit agency at its center. The CVB under its current makeup is a non-profit, and statute requires that any entity receiving lodging tax revenue and spending it be a non-profit. Typically, it takes several months to navigate the process necessary to achieve non-profit status, so it’s likely that if the local lodging contingent gets their way, they at least temporarily will have to partner with an existing non-profit in the community to receive and spend lodging tax dollars.

    Tadd said it’s her understanding that working with an existing non-profit is permitted, but she wants to do more research before reporting back to the council.

    “We have been talking and we have a plan to do something temporarily if the City would allow it,” Dallager added.

    Asked what would become of the current CVB Board of Directors if the Chamber’s contract with the City is terminated as part of a revamped CVB structure and mission, Weasner said the council appoints the CVB Board members, “So if we were to terminate, the CVB Board goes away.”

    The CVB Board was scheduled to meet on Tuesday, May 12, but Board Chair Janessa Quanrud said Tuesday it was cancelled due to a scheduling conflict.