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Gainesville forms nonprofit to promote city
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Gainesville City Council members heard a presentation on the Hotel Motel Tax Fund and information on forming a nonprofit corporation at their Thursday work session.

The city’s 2014 budget documents show the fund has $566,889 in revenue. Melody Marlowe, Gainesville Administrative Services director, gave an overview of its revenues and expenditures for next year. The Gainesville communication and tourism city department has a budget next year of $412,596,

Marlowe also discussed an agreement where Gainesville would contract with nonprofit corporation, Gainesville Communications & Tourism Inc., run by the city.

The change is due to the closure of the Georgia Mountains Center.

City Manager Kip Padgett said by state law, the city has to put a percentage of funding in communications and tourism into a nonprofit, which the corporation would be, and the nonprofit contracts with the city.

The 2014 budget for the fund includes money for the tourism office, Parks and Recreation and debt service, Marlowe said.

“The provision of the law we’re under requires 60 percent to be spent on those specific purposes I discussed,” she said. “The other 40 percent is up to council on how you want to spend it, any way you want to.”

According to the draft service agreement, the corporation GC&T would promote tourism, conventions and the city as a whole. Gainesville officials would provide four employees to the corporation as well as equipment. The city will manage the bookkeeping, and the department will still be under Catiel Felts, the city’s communication and tourism director.

However, Padgett would serve as president of the nonprofit and the city attorney would be the secretary. Marlowe would be treasurer.

“The hotel motel tax is coming from the nonprofit to them,” he said. “That’s basically how it’s working.”

The tax is a 6 percent fee on room rentals in the city. One percent of the revenue goes to debt service, which is the parking deck for the former city convention center, now known as Brenau Downtown Center. Gainesville leased the facility to Brenau University last year.

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