Funding for Charlotte Regional Visitors Authority Withheld

The Charlotte (N.C.) City Council voted to defer $10 million worth of funding for the Charlotte Regional Visitors Authority after passing its $1.6 billion budget on Monday. Council members are concerned with the organization's use of city funds after the Charlotte Observer reported a staff member had been given a $115,000 bonus. The CRVA also paid PricewaterhouseCoopers $25,000 plus expenses to review the authority's spending, but only gave the council a short summary of the findings without significant expenditure data. "The mission of the CRVA is incredibly important to the city's economy, and no one wants to see the hospitality and tourism industry succeed more than I do," Charlotte's Mayor Anthony Foxx said in a statement last week. "Having said that, I am disappointed in the CRVA's report summary, which raises more questions than it answers." The $10 million in question comes from the occupancy tax on hotel and motel rooms and a 1 percent tax on prepared food and beverages in Mecklenburg County. The money must be used for tourism-related purposes, though the city does not have to give it to the CRVA. Council member Michael Barnes asked to delay the vote on the CRVA's funding for at least two weeks until the council can get more details from the tourism authority. CRVA CEO Tim Newman is confident the money ultimately will be provided to his organization. "We believe, as the process evolves, many of the issues will be resolved," he told M&C.