The Longview City Council on Thursday supported a legislative request to redistribute $270,000 in tourism tax dollars to the cities instead of the county.
If the state law was changed, Longview would generate an additional $40,000 a year — or about $80,000 total — for tourism purposes.
As things stand now, the cities and county get 2 percent of the state sales tax collected in their jurisdictions to promote tourism. In addition, Cowlitz County collects another 2 percent lodging tax from hotels and motels throughout the county for tourism projects.
The Longview City Council is asking local lawmakers to change a state law so cities could keep that additional 2 percent in lodging tax generated within city limits instead of letting it pass to the county. The change does not affect taxpayers, but would redistribute the revenue.
Councilmen Scott Vydra and Mike Wallin opposed the motion. Wallin said the county has granted tourism funds for many Longview community events like Squatch Fest, Crafted Brew Fest and Unique Tin.
“We’ve had a great cooperative relationship with the county,” Wallin told the council. “We are reaping the rewards by allowing the county to take and be responsible for these funds.”
Councilman Steve Moon, who is on the Lodging Tax Advisory Committee, said he supported the change because it is frustrating to have more requests from local groups than funds available.
“We have the opportunity to support applicants at a better rate. They can fill out one application, and we can fund them appropriately,” he said.
The city’s legislative agenda also supports “streamlining” the environmental permitting process and providing more tools for economic development in cities.
The city’s legislative agenda also asks for $1 million to replace bathrooms at Lake Sacajawea and $1.08 million to support the Beech Street extension.
In other business, the council:
• Approved an agreement with the Longview Diking District to exchange a portion of its abandoned sewer lagoons in West Longview for diking property next to the city’s old water treatment plant on Fisher’s Lane.
• Approved the preliminary plat application for a proposed 92-lot housing subdivision in West Longview called the Mount Solo Estates. Councilman Mike Wallin recused himself because he has been involved in ongoing discussions regarding the project.
• Amended zoning requirements to include standards for short-term recreational vehicle parks in the city.
• Appointed City Manager Kurt Sacha, Councilman Chet Makinster and Longview Police Captain Debbie Pineda to the new Cowlitz 911 Public Authority Board of Directors. The council is also appointed Human Resources Director Chris Smith, Longview Interim Fire Chief Jim Kambeitz and Mayor Don Jensen as alternates.
• Transferred $500 for the working cash fund at the Mint Valley Golf Course, which transitioned to city management on Jan. 1.