Isle Of Palms Accommodations Tax Advisory Committee Turnover Continues

By Brian Sherman for The Island Eye News

The look of the Isle of Palms Accommodations Tax Advisory Committee, the group that is supposed to advise the City Council on how IOP should distribute the 2% state tax levied on owners of short-term rental properties, continues to evolve. At its June 1 meeting, the city’s Personnel Committee voted to recommend that the Council appoint Rebecca Kovalich to one of two spots on the ATAX Committee reserved for island residents who work in the lodging industry. 

Glenda Nemes, who served in that position for a year, submitted her resignation May 28, effective the following day. That left an opening on the ATAX Committee for someone in the hospitality industry. To fill the position, Chair John Bogosian recommended that he and Personnel Committee members Jan Anderson and Scott Pierce interview Gloria Clarke, who submitted her application near the end of May, Bogosian said. The interview was tentatively scheduled for June 14, leaving time to give the full Council the opportunity to consider both candidates at its monthly meeting June 28. At its May 24 meeting, the Council approved the Personnel Committee’s recommendations and appointed Chrissy Lorenz, Barb Bergwerf and Chas Akers to the ATAX Committee. Rusty Williamson resigned in March, while Malcoln Burgis, Davis Nelson and Sally Muhlig quit in April. Chair Ray Burns and Doug Truslow are the only holdovers.

Nemes said she gave up her spot on the ATAX Committee because “I felt I was not able to make any impact.” “I wanted to use my time for something for the community which might be more impactful,” Nemes commented.

“The year I was on the committee, it was like pushing a big rock up a hill. I hope I moved it a quarter of an inch by letting the people know what was happening with their ATAX money.” “I think there needs to be a change at the state level to do away with the 30% fund and the advisory board and to manage that ATAX money differently,” Nemes added. 

After the state skims off a small percentage of its 2% tax on short-term rentals, 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%, which is expected to be more than $800,000 during the coming year, to the Charleston Area Convention & Visitors Bureau. State law requires that this money be used to attract overnight visitors. 

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