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May 17, 2012 Door County Tourism Zone Commission Meeting Minutes
DOOR COUNTY TOURISM ZONE
COMMISSION and EXECUTIVE COMMITTEE MEETING
Minutes of May 17, 2012, 9:06 a.m.
Jacksonport Town Hall, 5242 Cty I
Nelson moved and Tice seconded to approve the agenda as submitted. All ayes.
Nelson moved and Skare seconded to approve the April 19 minutes. All ayes.
Tice moved and Nelson seconded to approve the collection policies as amended. All ayes.
Skare moved and Van Lieshout seconded to approve the motion to stop collections in the LeClair matter. All ayes. (Starr recused due to a conflict of interest).
Nelson moved and Weddig seconded to accept the reports from Kerber Rose. All ayes.
Larson moved and Skare seconded to approve the second amendment to the Entity Agreement. All ayes.
Kufrin moved and Nelson seconded to convene into Closed Session to Consider motion for Closed Session pur-suant to Wisconsin State Statutes, Section 19.85(1)(a)(f) or (g) to consider enforcement action against certain businesses regarding the room tax permitting, late payments and reporting and State Statutes §19.85(1)(e): de-liberating or negotiating the purchasing of public properties, the investing of public funds, or conducting other specified public business, whenever competitive or bargaining reasons require a closed session to discuss the Entity Agreement negotiations and DCVB audit issues. All ayes by roll call.
In Open Session, Kufrin moved and Nelson seconded that Roberts should send out letters and take action as discussed in Closed Session. All ayes.
Wedding moved and Skare seconded to adjourn. All ayes.
Committee Members Present by Roll Call: Bob Kufrin, Mary Boston, Emily Ahlswede, Bill Weddig, Elizabeth LeClair, Chuck Tice, Bob Starr, Fred Anderson, Jeff Larson, Bryan Nelson, Richard Skare, Josh Van Lieshout
Excused: Diane Jacobson, Tom Olsen, and Dennis Statz,
Absent: Brad Massey, Dave Holtz, Richard Briggs, Frank Forkert, Debra Jeanquart, Mike Johnson, Carol Stayton, and Nora Zacek.
Also in Attendance: Jack Moneypenny, Jon Jarosh & Mary Denis/DCVB; Kim Roberts /Administrative Assistant
Call to Order
Chair Bob Kufrin called the meeting to order at 9:06 a.m.
Approval of the Agenda
Nelson moved and Tice seconded to approve the agenda as submitted. All ayes.
Approval of the April 19 Minutes
Kufrin asked the Commission if there were any questions or clarifications to the minutes. There were none. Kufrin asked if the level of detail of the minutes was acceptable to the commission, all felt that the minutes gave members a good sense of the fine points of the meetings. Nelson moved and Skare seconded the approval of the minutes. All ayes.
Report from Kim Roberts, Administrative Assistant
Roberts reported unpaid tax and penalties are up slightly from April. Tice asked that Roberts break down the unpaid taxes and penalties for the commission by listing the amount owed in Court action, the amount owed in collections and the amount owed in lates. Roberts reported to the Commission that she had worked with Kerber Rose to define a step-by-step collection policy and procedure. Weddig felt that there were too many notices going to permit holders with overdue room tax bills. He mentioned that they all had money in the fall, so why not go after them then. Tice felt that there should be a shorter period for collections. It was agreed that there would be no more than three notices that go to permit holders. After three non-payment notices, Roberts would report to the Commission the non-payment and the Commission would decide on a final course of action or a referral to either collections or attorney involvement. Wedding suggested that five notices go out, two weeks apart. Kufrin was concerned if that was the process, The DCTZC would start to violate its own internal policy because the language is vague as it stands. Nelson felt the policy should be a broad stroke. Starr would like to see three notices, then reports to the commission and they can elect to move on other options or move on to collections or attorney intervention. Tice moved and Nelson seconded to approve the collection policies as amended to a maximum of three notices. All ayes.
The Mail in Check option was agreed to be eliminated at the last Executive Committee meeting. Roberts wrote lan-guage to be inserted on the website above the payment form drop down box. Kufrin added that he would like to see a link to a Room Tax Submission Form so that permit holders could easily print a form for mail in check payments. Kufrin explained that this change would be time saving for Kerber Rose in terms of reconciliation. Van Lieshout agreed that streamlining operations is critical and beneficial for everyone involved. Roberts reported that she planned to email and send via USPS a letter advising the 97 permit holders that used the mail in check option in 2011 of the changes in payment methods accepted for room tax submissions.
Roberts reported that she had reservations about proceeding with the trial of LexisNexis due to the varying infor-mation she had received from the webinar trainer and the sales person. She reported that she had concerns about the cost of being tied into an annual contract with no opportunity for withdrawal. Kufrin mentioned the opportunity to save money by having Roberts do research as opposed to the attorney. Roberts explained to the Commission the pro-cess she used in pulling a listing off VRBO and using the email address through LexisNexis to track down the property owner. Kufrin felt that this service could work to the Commission’s advantage by increasing permit holders and therefore generating increased room tax revenue. If the property fails to permit, a bill can be generated based on esti-mated comps in the area to ascertain an estimate of what is owed. Boston asked how successful Kirkland had been in the past with rental postings on websites and getting the property compliant. Roberts thought Kirkland had been very successful and told the Commission that the properties out of compliance continues to be a work in progress, but gave an example of a property that was recently permitted after a lengthy process. Boston wanted to know if the properties were large. Roberts replied that they were single unit properties. Kufrin noted that the adds and drops report, that is completed by Roberts, are reported to the municipalities twice a year and the clerk is supposed to look at the report and report any different findings back to the DCTZC. Anderson thought that this project seemed like a project for next winter. Roberts agreed she felt the commitment of money may not get utilized as well in the upcoming busy summer season. She did say that she would continue to research and print out properties to have available for research. Skare added that Roberts should introduce herself to the clerks to develop relationships so that if clerks hear or see anything different they can report back to Roberts. It might be a good time to develop a process. Nelson thought it would be a great time to introduce herself to the municipal representatives and meet together with the clerk to go over the report. Kufrin took the opportunity to introduce Fred Anderson, the newest member of the commission.
Roberts reported that she was actively working on the reports for the Annual Meeting. She also reported that she is us-ing YouSendIt to send electronic copies of the packet materials to members. Weddig wanted to be sure that the Closed Session documents were not being sent via YouSendit. Roberts updated the Commission on her abilities with Access. She asked the Commission for approval for a self-paced training class on Access through NWTC. Moneypenny offered the DCVB training program and asked Roberts to contact Bob at the DCVB for the access codes.
Update from the Administrative Assistant on Supplemental Exam with LeClair
Roberts updated the Commission on the Supplemental Exam findings. She reported that Le Clair’s wife was already being garnished by the State of Wisconsin for 20% of her paycheck. Roberts said the general findings of the exam were that Le Clair owns no other property other than their personal home, they do have an interest in the condos in Jacksonport which are part of the LeClair estate, but the sale of the condos are being held up by a State tax issue, and Le Clair doesn’t expect any money to come from his interest in the Estate. In regards to the Log Home, Le Clair re-ported that he owes $900,000 but the bank has it listed at $495,000. He mentioned there was a financial group out of Minnesota that was to make an offer and he had worked out an agreement that the Financial Group would pay off Le Clair’s debts and allow him to work the money off for them. Vande Castle suggested getting in line with garnishment with Mrs. LeClair. Kufrin reported that the DCTZC had been named in a court action by Chase, the mortgage holder for the Le Clair’s home. The Tourism Zone has only been named in this action because it holds a judgment against Paul LeClair and the lien of that judgment appears as a lien against the LeClair homestead property that is being foreclosed upon by Chase. Because the DCTZC holds an interest or claim to the assets, this sort of action is fairly common. Starr responded by noting that he recommend a long time ago to stop the pursuit of collections against Le Clair. Kufrin noted that the DCTZC was at the bottom of the list. Kufrin reminded the Commission that this matter was looking like the Barbican, in which the DCTZC got nothing in the end. Le Clair owes quite a bit more than the Barbican did, but at this point with the bankruptcy, there just isn’t money to be had. Nelson thought it meant a lot to hear Starr say that he didn’t think there was any money to be had. Starr described his involvement in the real estate side of the matter.
Kufrin asked the Commission if anyone would like to make a motion to suspend collections against Le Clair. Skare asked to decline involvement in the matter due to a conflict of interest. Wedding asked if it was fair to ask the attorney how much more money would the DCTZC have to spend when there was nothing left to collect. Skare thought why spend more money on the matter with the attorney when we are last in line for money on the lien. Kufrin summarized the matter by noting everything changed with the action taken by Chase. Skare motioned to stop collections against Le Clair and Van Lieshout seconded. All ayes. Tice questioned if this matter was properly brought up with the meeting being an Executive Committee due to the lack of quorum from the full Commission. Kufrin reminded Tice that this was the challenge when people failed to show up, the items are posted on the agenda and the business still needs to occur.
Motion to approve the 2011 audit: 10:00 phone conference with Mike Konecny of Schenck S.C.
Kufrin told the Commission that providing audit information to member municipalities and permit holders were part of the annual report sections. The audit is also included in an email to the permit holders advising them of the annual meeting. Kufrin informed the Commission that the Executive Committee met and had no particular questions or issues regarding the audit during the last meeting. Kufrin noted that there was always a slight difference between the DCVB and DCTZC numbers in regards to what was paid to the DCVB and what was collected in room tax. The difference is due to a timing of certain cash payments and how checks flow through the course of the year. There is no discrepancy, just a timing of payments issue. The difference is minimal; it’s close just not down to the penny. Kufrin called via phone Konecny and gave the Commission the opportunity to ask questions. There were no questions. Kufrin asked Konecny if there was anything he wanted to address in regards to the audit. Konecny said the audit was routine. There were no unusual items or missing information or anything that would require unusual disclosure. Kufrin said that it was reassuring for everyone to hear Konecny’s voice and apologized for not being present He said the DCTZC was able to keep administrative costs under 4%, the surplus increased (unrestricted net assets increase) and the unrestricted numbers are above the prior year due to timing differences and the tax revenue is up about 2%.
Report by the Door County Visitor Bureau on Marketing Efforts and Quarterly Report
Moneypenny talked about the tourism breakfast. They were both extremes of political input. 110 People attended. The insert “The Power of Tourism” was delivered to all households and was inserted in the Peninsula Pulse. Moneypenny added that they are available to the local boards should anyone need them in both electronic and hard copy form. There are 2,500 available. Jarosh can aid anyone that needs copies. There were two new full time hires for the DCVB, both have caught on very quickly. The welcome center traffic is up 1,700 people in the first four months of the year. Moneypenny felt that this traffic indicator may be a good gauge of what is to come. He then turned the conversation over to Jarosh and Dennis.
Kufrin thanked Dennis for her contribution over the last three years. Dennis discussed Web Statistics: she noted that web stats are up, web site traffic increased 21% compared to April and almost 16% over March 2011. Facebook was the top referring site and Google was the top traffic source to the DCVB site. The top keywords showed interest and likelihood to visit with standard search terms, but also shopping, log cabin rentals and area houses topped the search terms. Mobile viewers of the site grew from 14% to 18%. In E-marketing, Dennis said that the April e-newsletter (goes out the last Tuesday of the month) went out on April 24 to 400,000 emails.
In Social Media, there were 468 visitors to the Facebook page, down from 582 last month. There were 92 new likes of the page. Dennis reminded the Commission that the DCVB was not buying advertising on Facebook for the first quar-ter. Facebook ads are bought by impression which results in awareness but don’t result in sales. What she did like about advertising on Facebook is that you can set parameters and target your audience through their profile infor-mation.
Twitter had 34 new followers and 1,400 people tweeting about Door County. Dennis discussed her goals of creating micro-sites for special interest groups who travel to the area and buying lists so that the DCVB can target niche mar-kets. Kufrin asked Dennis if the microsites were driven by local volunteers. Dennis said that the agency builds the sites and the members post what is happening. She described it as partnerships vs. memberships. She said the calendars on the micro-sites are bases on membership updates vs. community information. She hoped that in the future there could be a possible partnership with someone in tune with local events who could somehow code and pull the events and information into the smaller micro-sites to target specific groups. Kufrin asked if local associations could add business events even if they aren’t DCVB members. Dennis said yes.
With advertising, Dennis said the month of April had a small budget of $21,365. She reminded the Commission that in May advertising really kicks into high gear. She reported that the DCVB has succeeded in putting kayaks on top of taxis in Minneapolis. There are seven (7) kayaks running around the city and those who see them can enter to win them at doorcounty.com. So far, 120 people have registered, 70-80% were from Minnesota zip codes and the remain-ing are from Western Wisconsin zip codes. Dennis felt that this was a fun and creative way for people to see Door County. Dennis described their campaign to counteract gas prices. She quoted AAA who found that people who planned to travel would be stay within 150 miles from home. The DCVB has created a “Trips on a Tank” campaign that is running in Chicago and Milwaukee on radio, TV and internet. The message is, “dream a million miles away; Door County is closer than you think.” Kufrin asked why the change in gross impressions, he noted the large change from last year. Dennis said the DCVB chose to target messages and therefore they felt that they got less impressions and a better audience that would be more inclined to hear their message. She added that TV just started at the end of April. The numbers are consistent with the plan and expected.
Good Morning Minneapolis received the kayak press release from Jarosh and is generating some viral buzz. Jarosh reported that 19 articles were generated in April as a result of the work from last year. Second of five press tours start-ing today, 13 journalists arriving .He noted that it was a busy time of year for journalists, which results in a good me-dia opportunity for the County. He informed the Commission that he conducted a PR educational training seminar for members with Geiger & Assoc. Twenty-four (24) members attended. Starr left the meeting at 10:30
Weddig felt that gas prices would continue to drop. Moneypenny said the message “dream a million miles away; Door County is closer than you think” is a good message at the right time of year. The message was not about gas, it focused on Door County being closer than you think. Nelson asked if the phrase had been trademarked. Dennis said no. Weddig said that advanced reservations were better than ever. Nelson said it’s the best it’s been in the last five-six years. Skare mentioned that first day of tickets sales for the Door County Auditorium was the biggest day they have ever had; all good indicators. Kufrin asked the Commission if anyone had any questions about the financials provided by the DCVB. There were none.
Consideration of Approving Reports and Payables plus Receipts to Date:
Nelson moved to accept the reports from Kerber Rose; Weddig seconded. All ayes.
Approve Changes to website to omit the mail in check option.
Mail in Check discussion handled under Administrative Assistant’s report.
Discussion of Current Comparable Occupancy Numbers for 2012
Kufrin noted that the numbers are so small; Kufrin has not done any comparisons. Kufrin asked if there are any questions. Moneypenny said he would rather be up 3.8% than down.
Consider a Motion to Approve a Tentative Agreement on the Second Amendment to the Entity Agreement
Back when the DCTZC was formed one of the things that happened early in the summer of 2007 was the establish-ment of a contract between the DCTZC and DCVB. This contract outlined the relationship between the parties. Charlie Most and Kufrin negotiated with Karen Raymore and Jerry Zaug from the DCVB talked about how the two parties would work together. The original agreement was based on reimbursement; the DCVB would submit monthly reports of expenses and get reimbursed by the DCTZC. A year later, the initial agreement was amended to allow reimbursement on a disbursement basis. Money was then distributed as it was collected. Our interest income dropped to nothing. The initial agreement was drafted to match up to the initial five (5) year concept of the room tax. Last year all the communities re-upped. In December 2011, proposals began to be exchanged between the two parties as Kufrin felt he really wanted to wrap up the agreement before the end of his term in June. The problems came down to language. A meeting was scheduled with members of the executive committee and the DCVB representatives of their board. A tentative agreement was reached between the two parties. There was a red line version so that the Commission could see what was taken out. The biggest change was to page 1, lines 20-22, which indicates the purpose of the agreement to create the framework of a cooperative working partnership. The real point of contention was section 3, which created the bulk of discussion. Going forward there would be no expectations of what the marketing plans would entail, but the performance measures are to make sure the parties agree to what is important and what would be successful indicators of performance. It was agreed that on or about December 1st of each year the DCVB would submit a marketing plan, budget, and performance measures. The performance indicators would be worked out this fall between the two groups. Kufrin added that he hoped that specific measures would be put in place rather than using the monthly reports as indicators of success. Going forward the Commission shall approve the budget (dollars) and performance measures. Kufrin went on to say that, the DCTZC wasn’t interested in micromanaging the marketing plan, and will not be approving the marketing plan. If the performance measures don’t work that is when the DCTZC needs to talk to the DCVB. The Executive Committee recommended the agreement as modified.
Moneypenny informed the Commission that Dixon reviewed the document with the DCVB board and it was there recommendation to accept the agreement with three (3) revisions. 1) Page 2, lines 14-15, the agreement shall renew automatically annually (add the word automatically). 2) Page 2, line 39, add an “s” to make “law” plural. 3) The agreement will be cleaned up and the numbered list will be in the correct order. Moneypenny said it was a unanimous decision for the board to accept the agreement. Kufrin asked if anyone had any questions. He thanked all parties that participated in the discussions on both sides. The tourism zone will finalize the draft of the Entity Agreement and send to the DCVB for signature. Larson moved and Skare seconded to approve the entity agreement as amended. All ayes.
Report from Commissioners on Feedback from Local Boards on Recent Issues
Van Lieshout said that the Entity Agreement satisfied all members of his board of trustees. Kufrin added that he is hosting a panel discussion at the Wisconsin City Managers Meeting. He has put together a room tax panel with Bies, Pugal, the town of Redmond and Kufrin. The plan is to discuss what is working, what is not working and what is going to change. Kufrin plans on discussing cooperative relationships and how the room tax money is spent. He wants to demonstrate the positive economic impact by tourism and how it can be measured. He added he would like to show that partnership is good information of the value of tourism. He would like to get representatives from the municipal and lodging side to sit down and talk to draft legislation to show common support for changes. In past discussions about the changes to the room tax legislation, few municipal representatives were there to speak about the changes. Kufrin said that there were few municipalities that like the changes. Kufrin feels Door County has a good story to tell and how to do room tax collection right. Nelson felt it was good to keep a finger on the pulse of changes. Anderson said there are compromises on the table. Kufrin said he is not sure who is proposing what at this point, but hopes that Bies and Pugal will be able to better inform the attendees of the panel as to what is going on. Anderson added that the legislation has been sitting in Madison since March. Wedding brought up his frustration with the credit card processing fees; he said that the 2.5% should be left out of the legislation. He felt that the tax should be transferred electronically as soon as it is collected. Moneypenny said that major revisions to the legislations should be expected for the next session. Kufrin asked to keep the discussion moving. Skare asked about the proposal for 1 and 2 units. Moneypenny said that it had been pulled off the table due to a lack of understanding.
Kufrin mentioned that there will be a tentative slate of officers to vote on for the next meeting. He asked the commis-sion members to let him know if anyone is interested in serving in an officer position. Wedding asked Kufrin to thank the Village of Sister Bay and it’s board for allowing Kufrin to give time and effort to the DCTZC.
Consider motion for Closed Session pursuant to Wisconsin State Statutes, Section 19.85(1)(a)(f) or (g) to consider enforcement action against certain businesses regarding the room tax permitting, late payments and reporting and State Statutes §19.85(1)(e): deliberating or negotiating the purchasing of public properties, the investing of public funds, or conducting other specified public business, whenever competitive or bargaining reasons require a closed session to discuss the Entity Agreement negotiations and DCVB audit issues
Kufrin moved to consider motion to convene into Closed Session; Tice seconded. All ayes by roll call.
Consider a Motion to Reconvene into Open Session.
The Commission voted by roll call, all ayes, to return to Open Session.
Consider a motion to take action, if required.
Kufrin moved and Nelson seconded that Roberts send out letters and take action as discussed in Closed Session. All ayes.
Weddig moved and Skare seconded to adjourn. All ayes. The meeting adjourned at 11:25 a.m.
April 18, 2013 Door County Tourism Zone Commission Meeting Minutes
March 21, 2013 Door County Tourism Zone Commission Meeting Minutes
February 21, 2013 Door County Tourism Zone Commission Meeting Minutes
January 17, 2013 Door County Tourism Zone Commission Meeting Minutes
December 20, 2012 Door County Tourism Zone Commission Meeting Minutes
November 15, 2012 Door County Tourism Zone Commission Meeting Minutes
October 18, 2012 Door County Tourism Zone Commission Executive Meeting Agenda
September 20, 2012 Door County Tourism Zone Commission Meeting Minutes
August 16, 2012 Door County Tourism Zone Executive Committee Minutes
July 19, 2012 Door County Tourism Zone Executive Committee Minutes