Claremore Daily Progress

August 8, 2011

CCVB clarifies $200K hotel incentive; reader writes about volunteering

Letters to the editor
Claremore Progress

CLAREMORE — The real value of volunteering

Dear Editor,

Often people ask the question: “Why do you volunteer?” However, as long as I have been volunteering, which is 12 years, 10 years I volunteered at Claremore Regional Hospital and 2 years at Claremore DaVita Dialysis. I think the most important question is “What is the value of being a volunteer?”

For me that value is self-satisfaction that I have been able to help others.

It gives me a sense of pride and a sense of caring for my fellow man. Feeling good about helping other perspectivees is the value to the organization for which you volunteer. All of us has valuable skills that can be used. Never underestimate the ways you can help. You’re unique perspective, experience, sense of caring, inspiration, skills and personal contacts among others.

At the end of the day, my inner satisfaction from volunteering at Davita Dialysis Center in Claremore on Blue Starr Drive makes a difference in life as I help to make a difference in someone else’s. It is just priceless.

Volunteering is always a win-win situation. We feel better because we’ve helped someone and the help we’ve provided makes a difference in someone’s life. I want to thank all of our volunteers for their time and commitment to many of Oklahoma’s most vunerable citizens. Without them our organization could not survive.

Tom Fossa

Patient Advocate, DaVita

Claremore

CCVB clarifies $200K incentive

Dear Editor:

Last Monday night, Aug. 1, Claremore City Council approved waiving their one percent administration fee that is held from the total collections of a five percent lodging tax.  There seems to be confusion and miscommunication regarding this one percent retained by the city. 

The administration fee for collecting the lodging taxes from all in-city hotels equals one percent of the total collected; not to be confused with one percent of the five percent.  For example if $100 is the total collections, then the city retains $1.00, not $20.00. 

Of this, the Claremore Convention and Visitors Bureau receives ninety-nine percent (99 percent) of the total collections. The city lodging tax ordinance states that the revenues are to be used:

1. To promote and foster tourism, conventions, and trade shows in the city;

2. To adopt agreements, plans, policies and programs to encourage the development of the city as a convention, trade show, and tourist center;

3. To construct, reconstruct, operate, maintain, and repair buildings and facilities to encourage the development of the city and to foster the development of the city as a convention, trade show, and tourist center, and acquired land in connection therewith.

Our mission is to promote and foster Claremore as a destination for visitors, events, meetings and conventions, and to increase overnight stays in the city limits of Claremore. 

In your August 3 edition, front page and page 2, the side bar titled Incentive, states the “CCVB gives up 1 percent till incentive is paid out.”  The CCVB is actually giving up 2.5 percent of that specific property’st otal lodging tax until the incentive is paid out. The city is giving up their 1 percent administration fee on total collections for that property, which will be passed along to the CCVB as a small offset to the incentive we are providing. 

In May of this year we were approached by the city and asked to consider offering the owner of Claremore Hospitality, an incentive to build a new Hampton Inn and Suites at the former Oklahoma Plaza.  The city has committed infrastructure and sales tax incentives, to be paid to Tapp Development for new businesses to develop in the former plaza.  With this commitment from the city to Tapp, there was nothing left for the city to offer any incentive to the owner of Claremore Hospitality.   After many discussions with city leaders, Robert Patel of Claremore Hospitality, and amongst our Board of Directors, the negotiated incentive went from $1 million to $200,000.  The $200,000 would be paid through two and half percent of the five percent lodging taxes, collected from the new Hampton Inn and Suites only.  The two and a half percent would be paid in annual payments until the balance of $200,000 is paid in full or for up to five years, whichever comes first. 

The remaining two and half percent would be retained by the Convention and Visitors Bureau, and be used to recruit new business in the form of meetings and conventions, events, group & motor coaches, and allow for increased promotions and advertising.  This 2.5 percent would be new revenues for the CCVB and would be in addition to the current revenues received from lodging taxes collected from the other in-city hotels.  The incentive offered to Claremore Hospitality, would not affect the lodging taxes collected from our current hoteliers; it is based strictly on the Hampton Inn and Suites.  As of today, Aug. 5, our offer has not been accepted.  The one percent that the city council unanimously approved to waive in the event this property does come to Claremore would not happen if the property decides not to build.

This is a bold and aggressive approach for the Claremore Convention and Visitors Bureau, and the decision to step in and make this offer was not made irrationally or quickly.  Claremore is a wonderful community in which to live, work, or play.  It is also a premier community to showcase to the traveling public, while telling the story of our past, present, and future. 

Tanya Andrews, executive director

Kris Beyer, board chair

Claremore Convention

and Visitors Bureau