On hold again

Published 10:29 am Monday, March 22, 2021

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Polk, Saluda, Tryon TDA bill will wait for next session

POLK COUNTY—Although Polk County Commissioners approved moving forward with a joint Tourism Development Authority with the Town of Tryon and City of Saluda, the towns said they wanted more time. 

During recent meetings of all 3 local governments, Polk County approved sending a new bill to the state, but Tryon and Saluda both said they had some issues and held off until the next session. The new bill was due by March 11 to go before legislation. 

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Polk County Manager Marche Pittman said after hearing from the towns, the county decided to hold off. 

“We are waiting for another session,” Pittman said. “We received some pushback on a few items from some of our municipal partners, so we felt a slow down to allow for proper communication was in order.” 

The process of creating a joint TDA has been ongoing since 2018. The act failed to pass legislation a few years ago and the county and towns tried again in 2019 but legislation did not hear any occupancy tax bills. 

In 2018 the county, Saluda and Tryon approved an inter-local agreement and resolutions asking for legislation to approve the special district. 

The county and two towns agreed to join tourism departments, where the county would be allowed to collect 6 percent occupancy tax in the unincorporated areas of the county as well as in Saluda and Tryon. Columbus did not want to join the new authority. 

In exchange, the county, Saluda and Tryon approved an inter-local agreement to give the towns 5-percent of each town’s occupancy tax. The towns’ benefit would be collecting 2-percent more in occupancy tax as they currently only collect 3 percent, as well as not having to administer collections of their own tax. If approved, the county will handle all collections of the occupancy tax.  

The county’s benefit will be collecting 6 percent of occupancy tax in the unincorporated areas of the county. Currently the county collects 3 percent occupancy tax in the entire county, including in Columbus, Saluda and Tryon.