ATAX Committee Narrows Search For Candidates

By Brian Sherman for The Island Eye News

The number of applicants for positions on the Isle of Palms Accommodations Tax Advisory Committee has been more than cut in half, but the process of replacing four members who recently resigned might take longer than expected. At a May 3 meeting, the IOP Council’s Personnel Committee narrowed the field to six from among 13 “very impressive candidates,” according to Chair John Bogosian. Committee members will interview Bobby Ross, Ben Marks, Barbara Bergwerf, Tony Jones, Chas Akers and Rebecca Kovalich on May 23 and present their recommendations to the Council at its May 24 meeting. Two open seats must be filled by representatives of the hospitality industry, but Ross was the only candidate who qualified for those positions. Bogosian said the city will reopen the application process through the end of May. One at-large ATAX Committee member must be chosen from among Jones, Akers and Kovalich, while either Marks or Bergwerf will fill the seat reserved for the cultural sector.

The ATAX Committee’s job is to advise the City Council concerning how the city should distribute the 2% state tax leviedon owners of short-term rental properties. After the state takes a small percentage of the money,the city can keep $25,000 plus 5%, while 65% goes into a fund that the city must spend on tourism-related services and projects. Currently, the city sends the remaining 30%, more than $750,000 a year, to the Charleston Area Convention & Visitors Bureau. State law requires that this money be usedto attract tourists. Rusty Williamson resigned from the ATAX Committee in March, while Malcolm Burgis, David Nelson and Sally Muhlig quit in April.

Currently the committee consists of Chair Ray Burns and Glenda Nemes, who represent the lodging sector, and Doug Truslow, an at-large member. 

The Personnel Committee also will interview two candidates for a position on the Planning Commission: Jeffrey Rubin and Alex Skatell.

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