Mayor Steve Bach’s office elaborated Saturday on a proposal he made concerning a committee that advises on how tourism tax money is spent.
The proposal, presented to City Council last week, suggests that the mayor take control of appointments to the Lodgers and Automobile Rental Tax Advisory Committee, or LART, a task usually overseen by the council. The proposal’s intent was not meant to “usurp” the council’s authority, but was merely an effort to jumpstart a discussion on streamlining the committee’s work, Bach spokeswoman Cindy Aubrey said in a Saturday email to The Gazette .
“To be clear, Mayor Bach does not want to take over appointing the members of the LART Advisory Committee,” Aubrey wrote in the email.
The mayor’s office sought to clarify the proposal’s intentions after a “Question of the Day” about the LART funds appeared in Saturday’s Gazette, which followed a Friday article on council’s response to Bach’s proposal.
The seven-member LART committee recommends how to spend monies collected from hotel room and rental car taxes. Typically, the taxes are allocated to the Convention and Visitors Bureau, with leftovers used for the Colorado Balloon Classic and the Pikes Peak Hill Climb.
Although the mayor’s office struck a more negotiable tone on Saturday, Council President Pro Tem Jan Martin still took the proposal at face value — putting control of the funds committee to the mayor’s hands. Titled the “Proposed Reorganization of the LART Committee,” the proposal states that the current protocol “would be amended to provide the Mayor with appointment authority over a reorganized LART committee. The purpose of this new appointment authority is to ensure broad input for recommendations related to expenditures of LART funds for special events.”
“This is a pretty big change in the whole process,” Martin said Saturday.
Martin and Council Administrator Aimee Cox had worked with the mayor’s office on streamlining the committee.
“We started these conversations, and we were trying to find a solution that we could bring forward to council,” Martin said. “I am not comfortable bringing forward a proposal where the mayor appoints (the committee) without the council having a conversation about that.”
Rather than continue her discussions with the mayor, Martin decided to present the proposal to council last week.
“I thought it was time to move forward and just take it to council so the whole council can discuss it with the mayor’s office,” she said.