By DOTTY NIST
After looking through applications for membership on the Walton County Tourist Development Council (TDC), a newly-created Selection Committee formulated recommendations to fill six seats on the council.
Composed of TDC Executive Director Jim Bagby, Stan Sunday, deputy county administrator, and Walton County District 5 Commissioner/TDC member Cindy Meadows, the committee met on March 6 at the District 5 Office.
In January, the Walton County Board of County Commissioners (BCC) had learned that membership on the TDC was out of compliance with state statutes due to more than the allowed number of bed tax collectors being on the council. At the BCC’s direction, applications were subsequently taken for TDC seats 4 through 9, the seats designated for members of the tourism industry. Three to four council seats are required to be held by bed tax collectors.
The BCC also put new procedures in place, in line with recent recommendations from the Institute of Senior Professionals (ISP) in a management study on the TDC. Among these were the appointment of the Selection Committee, an emphasis on seeing that both large and small bed tax collectors were represented, and an emphasis on seeing there was balanced geographic dispersion of members within the south-of-the-bay taxing district. Among criteria set up for the process were that, to be appointed, an applicant may not have served two full terms (eight years) on the council.
It was also determined that membership on the six seats would be designated, respectively, to: a lodging industry owner/operator representing a bed tax collector with more than 50 units (seat 4); a lodging industry owner/operator representing a bed tax collector with 50 or fewer units (seat 5); a lodging industry owner/operator representing a rental management company (seat 6); a person representing a tourism-related industry in the area of retail, restaurant or recreational services (seat 7); a person representing a tourism-related industry in the area of cultural or professional services (seat 8); and a lodging industry owner/operator or representative of a tourism-related industry (seat 9).
At the March 9 committee meeting, Bagby noted that it had been verified that all applicants, as required, were registered voters in Walton County. He added that the Walton County Clerk of Courts had determined which applicants were bed tax collectors and which were not.
The members reviewed eligible applicants for each of the six seats, voting to arrive at a recommendation on each. In addition to criteria set by the BCC, factors entering into the committee’s decisions on recommendations were providing for people who had not previously served on the TDC to have the opportunity and including both male and female council members.
All recommendations arrived at were unanimous.
They included: Seat 4 – Gary Brielmayer; seat 5 – Kurt Tape; seat 6 – Jennifer Frost; seat 7 – Jim Richard; seat 8 – Art Miller; and seat 9 – Pam Avera.
“I think it’s a good team,” Meadows said at the conclusion of the voting.
Bagby said he would informally notify the applicants who had been selected for recommendation and would present the committee recommendations to the BCC at their next regular meeting on March 11.
In addition to the people to be recommended for the six seats, other applicants had included Gus Andrews, Geoff Chick, Ron Couget, George Hartley, Mark Hogdon, Jim Meeker, and Doug Remington. Andrews and Avera were the only current council members to reapply to serve on the council.
Tourism council members approved by the BCC are to attend their first council meeting on April 1.
By DOTTY NIST