Hyde County news

Two occupancy tax boards to meet tonight (Oct. 17)

Last week’s OCBA public meeting discussed the Occupancy Tax Boards. Left to right are Rudy Austin, Tom Pahl (county commissioner), Melinda Fodrie Sutton, Helena Stevens and Martha Garrish. Photo by Peter Vankevich

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Ocracoke’s two boards charged with dispersing occupancy tax revenues will meet tonight (Tuesday, Oct. 17) at 5 in the Community Center to discuss how they will work together.

The new Tourism Development Authority (TDA) and the Ocracoke Occupancy Tax Board (OTB) will discuss their roles in a public meeting.

Earlier this summer, the Hyde County Commissioners approved the establishment of this TDA after they approved raising the total occupancy tax rate on all lodging rentals to 5 percent, on top of the 6.75 percent sales tax that’s also levied.

By state statute, the TDA will oversee 2 percent of the occupancy tax revenues and the OTB will oversee the 3 percent monies. While the TDA is a separate authority that can operate and disperse funds as it wishes, the OTB is an advisory board whose funding recommendations each year must be approved by the Hyde County Commissioners

Ocracoke’s County Commissioner Tom Pahl gave a run down at a civic affairs meeting of the Ocracoke Civic & Business Assn. at a meeting Oct. 11.

He appointed Amy Howard, Daphne Bennink, Greg Honeycutt, Martha Garrish and Wayne Clark to the TDA, which the county commissioners approved at their Oct. 2 meeting.

Although all board members are appointed for three-year terms, Bennink and Howard will have two-year terms to start so that future appointments are staggered.

Pahl explained that the TDA is charged with dispersing two thirds of the 2 percent tax for tourism promotion and the rest would be allocated to tourism-related activities, but these delineations will have to be further defined.

The OTB can grant funds from the 3 percent pool for “any legal purpose.” Up to now, the OTB has received proposals from island nonprofits for both tourism, events and operating costs and the two boards will have to decide which of these projects can move to the TDA funding pool.