Advisory group OKs food and beverage tax money for convention center debt

On Thursday, Monroe County commissioners cleared a key hurdle for using part of the county government’s share of the 1-percent food and beverage tax, to pay for debt on the convention center and the center’s management expenses.

By the end of its hour-long meeting, the seven-member food and beverage tax advisory commission (FABTAC) had recommended that up to $300,000 of the county’s food and beverage fund balance could be spent on convention center debt and management.

Historically, it has been innkeeper’s tax revenues that have been used to pay the convention center debt service. The innkeeper’s tax is 5-percent charge on lodging in the county.

But innkeeper’s tax revenues have been hit hard by the COVID-19 pandemic.

Food and beverage revenues are also a bit down due to the pandemic, but not by as much. That’s why commissioners wanted the flexibility to use some of the more than $600,000 in the food and beverage fund balance to pay towards the annual debt service on the convention center. The annual debt service is $636,000.

The specific mention of the $300,000 in FABTAC’s approval was different from the original wording of the request made to the FABTAC by county commissioners. Commissioners had voted in the first week of the year to ask for consideration from the FABTAC.

In their request, the three-member board of commissioners had asked to use “any and all funds” in the county’s food and beverage tax fund.

Except for wrangling over the difference in wording, the meeting probably could have been wrapped up in under a half hour. Continue reading “Advisory group OKs food and beverage tax money for convention center debt”

Monroe County asks food and beverage tax group to recommend use of tax proceeds for convention center debt

At their Wednesday meeting, Monroe County commissioners decided to send a request to the local food and beverage tax advisory commission (FABTAC) that they be able to use “any and all” of the county’s share of food and beverage tax proceeds for existing convention center debt and management expenses.

Historically it has been innkeeper’s tax revenues that have been used to pay the convention center debt service. But  innkeeper’s tax revenues have have been hit hard by the COVID-19 pandemic. Food and beverage revenues are also down due to the pandemic, but not by as much.

Under the state statute on food and beverage taxes, the request needs to go before the seven-member FABTAC and get a favorable recommendation, before the tax revenue can be used the way the commissioners are requesting. Continue reading “Monroe County asks food and beverage tax group to recommend use of tax proceeds for convention center debt”

Monroe County electeds mull legal fees, COVID-19 relief money, innkeeper’s tax, food and beverage tax

At a work session held on Tuesday of Thanksgiving week, Monroe County councilors took care of some year-end appropriations, and talked with county commissioners about next year’s priorities.

A vote on extra appropriation to cover legal fees, amended by councilors from $30,000 to $18,126, was split 6–1

Screenshot of the Monroe county council’s Nov. 24 work session held by Zoom videoconference.

Some positive news was relayed from the commissioners office about the $4.7 million in CARES Act (Coronavirus Aid, Relief, and Economic Security Act) reimbursement funding that’s been awarded to the county. The state of Indiana has told the county to submit public safety personnel expenses as claims against the $4.7 million award.

That means the county will max out the reimbursement, according to Angie Purdie, administrator for the commissioners office.

Once the money is reimbursed to the county, it goes into the county general fund, according to Purdie, which means county councilors have flexibility to spend the money as they judge to be appropriate.

Less flexible in the way it can be spent is revenue from the countywide food and beverage tax, which is split about 90-10 between Bloomington and Monroe County government. The county’s current fund balance for the food and beverage tax is $554,194, even after distributing nearly $400,000 worth of grants for COVID-19 relief to businesses and nonprofits earlier this year.

Councilors will be weighing whether to put some of that fund balance towards additional business relief, or using it to backstop shortfalls in the revenue from the innkeeper’s tax, due to the COVID-pandemic. The innkeeper’s tax is a key source of revenue for payment of $636,000 in debt service on the land surrounding the convention center and the most recent renovation to the center.

A meeting of the county’s 5-member convention and visitors commission is set for noon on Wednesday, Dec. 9. The meetings have not typically been broadcast on CATS, but based on conversation at Tuesday’s county council work session, the link to the Zoom video conference is expected to be included on the list maintained on Monroe County’s website. Continue reading “Monroe County electeds mull legal fees, COVID-19 relief money, innkeeper’s tax, food and beverage tax”

Food and beverage tax group OKs expansion of eligibility for COVID-19 relief

REVISED R Output FOOD AND BEVERAGE REVENUE BY MONTH YEAR OVER YEAR June 16 update

Even though it’s physically located inside the Bloomington city limits, the Monroe County History Center is now eligible for a grant through an already established county government program that’s designed to support businesses and nonprofits impacted by the COVID-19 pandemic.

That’s the specific effect of a decision made at a Tuesday afternoon meeting of the food and beverage tax advisory commission (FABTAC). But the FABTAC’s decision applies to any entity “whose purpose and mission is to support the entire county in tourism related endeavors.”

What’s new for the county’s grant program is the suspension of a rigid geographic requirement that a grantee be located outside the Bloomington city limits.

The FABTAC is a seven-member group made up of city and county electeds, and three owners of businesses that collect the 1-percent food and beverage tax from their patrons. Continue reading “Food and beverage tax group OKs expansion of eligibility for COVID-19 relief”

Food and beverage tax support for pandemic-impacted businesses continues, advisory group to meet Tuesday

Last Wednesday, Monroe County commissioners awarded about $21,000 more in grants to pandemic-affected tourism-related businesses outside the city limits of Bloomington. That brings the total amount awarded by the county to $266,442.

bordered R-OUT Unemployment Initial Claims Monroe County 2008-2020 June 14 output
In the last three weeks for which numbers are available, initial claims for unemployment filed in Monroe County are 368, 354 and 363. That’s  still around the top levels seen during the 2008 downturn.

The food and beverage tax advisory commission (FABTAC), has recommended that the county can use up to $400,000 of such tax tax proceeds to help businesses recover from the impact of COVID-19.

Bloomington has a corresponding loan program for up to $2 million of food and beverage tax proceeds. Through last Wednesday, the city’s loan numbers looked the same as the week before—$939,600 has been awarded to 34 businesses. All of the submitted applications had been processed as of last Wednesday.

Bloomington has loaned out another $247,170 for pandemic-relief using funds from the Bloomington Urban Enterprise Association.

On Tuesday at 3:15 p.m., the FABTAC will hold a meeting, when it’s possible that they’ll approve an expansion to the county’s grant program. Continue reading “Food and beverage tax support for pandemic-impacted businesses continues, advisory group to meet Tuesday”

Food and beverage tax revenues start to show COVID-19 impact

New2 R Output FOOD AND BEVERAGE REVENUE BY MONTH YEAR OVER YEARThroughApril2020

The impact of Indiana governor Eric Holcomb’s initial stay-at-home order, which was effective starting March 25, is starting to show up in food and beverage tax revenue reports for Monroe County.

In the April report delivered to food and beverage tax advisory commission (FABTAC) members at their regular meeting on Tuesday, revenues from the 1-percent tax were $204,681.

That’s down about 30 percent from the $291,297 reported for April in 2019.

An April report of food and beverage tax revenues will reflect collections made in March, based on discussion as the meeting. Continue reading “Food and beverage tax revenues start to show COVID-19 impact”

Monroe County’s total food and beverage COVID-19 relief nudges towards $200K as board gets updates on blood drive, mask promotion

Commish Purdie Mask Screen Shot 2020-05-20 at 10.45.38 AM
Screen shot from the May 20, 2020 meeting of Monroe County’s board of commissioners, which was conducted on the Zoom video conferencing platform.

At Wednesday’s regular meeting of Monroe County’s commissioners, another $5,000 COVID-19 relief grant was made to a tourism-related business outside Bloomington city limits, using food and beverage tax proceeds.

The breakdown for Pili’s Party Taco’s use of the $5,000 grant is: $1,800 rent; $1,200 insurance (truck and supplies); and $2,000 for employee salaries.

The board also got an update on an upcoming blood drive, a mask-wearing promotion, and a comprehensive county planning update. Continue reading “Monroe County’s total food and beverage COVID-19 relief nudges towards $200K as board gets updates on blood drive, mask promotion”

Monroe County on path for second $200K-installment of COVID-19 business relief using food and beverage tax proceeds

At a Tuesday afternoon meeting, the food and beverage tax advisory commission (FABTAC) recommended another $200,000 for Monroe County officials to allocate to tourism-related businesses that have been impacted by the COVID-19 pandemic.

cropped 2020-05-05 FABTAC Screen Shot 2020-05-05 at 3.22.49 PM
Screenshot of the May 5, 2020 meeting of the food and beverage tax advisory commission, which was held by Zoom video conference.

That brings to $400,000 the total recommended by the FABTAC for the county’s COVID-19 relief program.

The county’s grant program for COVID-19 business relief is just for tourism-related businesses outside the Bloomington city limits.

The city of Bloomington has a similar program using its own share of the food and beverage tax proceeds, but the allocations to businesses inside the city limits are being made as loans, not grants. The city’s program taps $2 million from the city’s share of food and beverage tax proceeds.

The county council will have an ordinance on its May 12 agenda next week to appropriate the additional money recommended on Tuesday by the FABTAC. The following day at their regular meeting, the county commissioners expect to be able to make some additional grant allocations to businesses.

At Tuesday’s FABTAC meeting, president of the county’s board of commissioners, Julie Thomas, encouraged businesses to continue to apply for the grants.

An initial installment of $200,000 in food and beverage tax proceeds was recommended by the FABTAC in March. Continue reading “Monroe County on path for second $200K-installment of COVID-19 business relief using food and beverage tax proceeds”

Monroe County hits $160K in food and beverage tax distributions for COVID-19 business relief, looks for approval of another $200K

At their regular Wednesday morning meeting, Monroe County commissioners authorized another $95,500 in support of COVID-19 relief for tourism-related businesses outside the city of Bloomington.

Nine business received grant awards ranging from $2,500 to $23,000.

cropped 2020-04-29 commissioners Shot 2020-04-29 at 11.02.47 AM
Screen shot of the Zoom video conference for the April 29, 2020 Monroe County board of commissioners meeting.

That adds to the total of $68,352 they approved last week for the same purpose.

Some of the roughly $36,000 that now remains from a $200,000 appropriation of food and beverage tax proceeds could be distributed to other businesses on Friday at 3 p.m. That’s when the commissioners will resume their meeting. The Wednesday session was not adjourned.

President of the board of commissioners, Julie Thomas, said that the applications that might be considered by Friday had come in after a soft deadline.

Also at Wednesday’s meeting, commissioners authorized a request to the food and beverage tax advisory commission (FABTAC ) of another $200,000 for COVID-19 business relief.

Same as before, the relief would go to tourism-related businesses in the county and outside the city limits of Bloomington. FABTAC would likely need to convene a special meeting to consider the request. Continue reading “Monroe County hits $160K in food and beverage tax distributions for COVID-19 business relief, looks for approval of another $200K”

$2.2M in food and beverage tax money now queued up for Bloomington, Monroe County COVID-19 economic relief, pending guidance from state’s board of accounts

FABTAC Screen Shot 2020-03-27 at 5.31.15 PM
Screen grab of the March 27, 2020 meeting of the food and beverage tax advisory commission (FABTAC), which was conducted on the videoconferencing platform Zoom.

At its Friday afternoon meeting, the food and beverage tax advisory commission (FABTAC) unanimously approved a request to use $2 million in already-collected tax money to assist businesses inside the city of Bloomington that have been impacted by the COVID-19 pandemic.

The request came from Bloomington’s city council, which voted unanimously on Wednesday to make the request of the FABTAC.

Friday’s vote by the FABTAC concludes, for now, its role in the effort to use proceeds of the 1-percent tax to provide economic support to businesses impacted by COVID-19.

Previously, the FABTAC had approved a request from Monroe County commissioners to use $200,000 of the county’s share of the money to assist businesses outside the city of Bloomington.

Details on the distribution of the money will now be sorted out by the city and the county for their respective shares. Continue reading “$2.2M in food and beverage tax money now queued up for Bloomington, Monroe County COVID-19 economic relief, pending guidance from state’s board of accounts”