There are several things which I believe are important for people to know.
1) Only Lucas County qualifies as an 'eligible' county.
2) It allows the County to establish ticket charges or surcharges for admission to events.
3) It allows the County to increase the lodging tax by 2 percentage points which can be used to make contributions to a convention and visitors bureau, to promote/advertise/market the region, and to pay for an arena.
4) A resolution to increase the lodging tax can only be passed by the Commissioners between January 15, 2007 and January 15, 2008.
5) The resolution takes effect upon adoption, unless they specify that the tax is to go to a vote of the people.
6) If the tax does not go to a vote of the people and is, instead, adopted by the Commissioners, the people can petition to have it submitted to a referendum.
7) The lodging tax remains in effect at the rate at which it was imposed for the duration of any lease or other agreement entered into by the board with respect to the arena; the duration during which any securities issued by the board are outstanding; or the duration of the period during which the board owns the arena, whichever period of time is longest.
8) The bill prohibits the Commissioners from repealing, rescinding or reducing any or all of the lodging taxes pledged to pay debt on any outstanding securities issued for the arena. Further, once lodging taxes are pledged to pay debt on the securities, they are not subject to repeal, rescission or reduction by the county voters.
People should know that there is nothing to require the tax to expire once the arena construction is paid for - and that if the taxes are passed and securities are issued, they are not subject to repeal.
I think this raises two critical questions: One - is this written so that the Commissioners can pass the tax, issue bonds and then eliminate the option of the people to petition for referendum because the tax would be pledged to debt payment on those bonds? In other words, is it likely they can get this done BEFORE the petitions for referendum can be filed? Two - will the Commissioners pledge to collect the tax only until the construction bonds are paid off?
Just some questions that I think need to be answered PRIOR to any votes...