Tourism Board

The City of Hudson passed a Lodging Tax that went into effect on June 1, 2017. The Lodging Tax collects 4% from ALL Lodging – B and B’s, hotels, and short-term rentals. An FAQ on the Lodging Tax is HERE.

In 2018, with the new Common Council, the Arts, Entertainment, and Tourism Committee was abolished, and the Lodging Tax amended. A Tourism Board was created to include members appointed by the Common Council and Mayor.

The Tourism Board was set up in March of 2018 as follows, see law in link.

Here’s the city code regarding the Lodging Tax.
(the city code is represented in italics)

§ 275-41. Tourism Board; funding. [Amended 3-20-2018 by
L.L. No. 4-2018]

Tourism Board.
There is hereby created in the City of Hudson a Tourism Board (hereinafter the “Board”) that shall be composed and vested with such powers as herein set forth.
The Board shall consist of nine members.
The chair of the Economic Development Committee shall
serve as chair of the Tourism Board.
(a) The Mayor shall appoint four members to the Tourism
Board who shall serve at the Mayor’s pleasure.
(b) The Common Council shall appoint four members to the
Tourism Board who shall serve at the Council’s pleasure.

The Tourism Board is hereby empowered to take all
reasonable steps it determines desirable, necessary and
proper to market the City of Hudson as a destination for
overnight and daytrip visitors by making use of the funds set
aside by the City Treasurer…

The Tourism Board is funded as follows:

The City Treasurer shall set aside from such net tax revenues
realized by the City in each reporting period for use by the
Board in a manner consistent with § 275-41A(2) and for no
other purpose whatsoever:

Fifty percent of the first $250,000 so realized;
Twenty-five percent of the second $250,000 so realized;
and Ten percent of all sums above $500,000 so realized;
provided, however,
that in no event shall the sums so set
aside for use by the Board exceed $250,000
in any annual
period commencing at March 1, and ending on the last
day of the month of February.

The Lodging Tax is collected – 4% – then split between the City’s General Fund and the Tourism Board. The Tourism Board’s amount is capped at $250,000, while the city’s general fund is not.

The idea behind this law is to use the Tourism Board as an economic driver for the City’s tourism economy. In 2018, the Lodging Tax generated $240,000. Click here for link. Those funds were distributed between the city’s General Fund and the Tourism Board.

However, if the Lodging Tax generated $1,000,000, the Tourism Board would receive a maximum of $250,000 and the City’s General Fund $750,000.

(This is one of the few “hard” numbers that the City has for its tourism industry. If $240,000 represents 4% of revenue, then 100% of the lodging revenue is approximately $6,000,000 – just in the City of Hudson! You can most likely double that number to represent food/drink/retail/etc, to determine the size of Hudson’s Tourism economy. Tourism dollars help provide jobs, and pay the property and sales taxes into the City’s General Fund.)

Since the Tourism Board is seen as an economic driver, to bring money into the City’s General Fund, the Chair of the City’s Economic Development Committee is also the Chair of the Tourism Board.

When I started office in January 2018, I was selected as Chair of Economic Development. In March, when this law went into effect, I became, de facto, the Chair of the Tourism Board. This was not a position that I was expecting – since it did not exist – but being new to the job (and rather naive), I was up for it!

The Tourism Board Members were selected by the Mayor and by the Council. Our first meeting was in June 2018. This is the list of Tourism Board members.

We met with Columbia County Tourism (with offices at 401 State Street), and I met with Dutchess County Tourism for information and ideas on how Tourism Boards work. We received local marketing contacts from these sources. Some of us also attended other regional tourism seminars for ideas on how Tourism Boards operate. Every county in the state has a tourism board, as well as many other municipalities.

One of our first tasks, the City of Hudson’s Tourism Board created Mission and Vision Statements:

MISSION STATEMENT
The mission of the Hudson Tourism Board is to establish the City of Hudson as a preferred destination, while embracing smart growth and enhancing the economy and the quality of life for all Hudson residents.

VISION STATEMENT
The vision of the Hudson Tourism Board is that the City of Hudson will become the nationally recognized preferred travel and getaway destination in the Hudson Valley. We intend to accomplish this by promoting Hudson’s unique identity as a diverse, smart and sophisticated waterfront destination, with unparalleled eateries, hotels, retail shops, cultural venues and events. By promoting this wide range of experiences and the City’s rich and storied history for visitors and local residents alike, we intend to become an economic engine for the City of Hudson.

Similar to other municipal Tourism Boards, the City of Hudson’s Tourism Board set out to find a marketing firm to fulfill the Tourism Board’s purpose outlined in the law: “to market the City of Hudson as a destination for
overnight and daytrip visitors”.

An RFP (Request for Proposal) was created and sent out to marketing contacts, this is included in the City’s minutes and available on-line.

We received about a dozen proposals, conducted in-person interviews, and selected one firm, Chandlerthinks. They offered a diverse experience with other municipal tourism boards, and they have a strong emphasis on research and community input.

The current resolution presented to the Common Council, for about $75,000, is for the entire Chandlerthinks proposal. Their proposal and the resolution can be found here.

Since the Tourism Board (other than myself) are volunteers, and we meet once/month for an hour, we are looking for an outside firm to do the research work and provide a study. They will deliver a plan and the Tourism Board can then move forward implementing that plan.

Additionally, this year, the Tourism Board spent $20,000 to replace the city funds set aside for the former Arts Committee. These funds were not included in the 2019 budget. $20,000 was allocated from the Tourism Board’s fund to the city’s Finance Committee to distribute to city-wide events such as Flag Day, Winter Walk, Bangladeshi Festival, Black Arts Festival, Halloween Parade, Hudson Eye, and others events.

The current resolution proposed to the Common Council is to task Chandlerthinks with understanding and reporting the needs of both tourists and residents and to present a plan to help our community grow in keeping with the Mission and Vision Statements of the Tourism Board.

The Hudson Tourism Board sent RFPs to local businesses last November. When the blog, TheOtherHudsonValley did a post about the Tourism Board’s RFP, Chadlerthinks found us, via google search, and submitted their proposal. They approached us.

They are specialists in small to medium-sized municipal tourism marketing.

Following is their list of clients:

Ascension Parish, LA — Alamance County, NC — Bowling Green, KY
Cumberland, MD — Carlsbad, CA — Cabarrus County, NC — Cedarburg, WI — Clifton, TN — Columbia, TN — Columbus, GA — Corpus Christi, TX — Currituck Outer Banks, NC — Danville, KY — Elk River, MN — Ennis, TX — Fayette County, TN — Finger Lakes, NY — Franklin, TN — Fremont, NE — Galveston Island, TX — Henderson, KY — Horsham, PA — Independence, MO — Irvine, CA — Jefferson, WI — Katy, TX — Kenai Peninsula, AK — Kentucky Lake, KY — La Fourche Parish, LA — Lake City, SC — Longmont, CO — Macon, GA — Meigs County, TN– Monroe County, TN — Morrow, GA — Owensboro, KY — Perry, GA — Polk County, TN — Robertson County, TN — Rowan County, NC — Saint Charles, MO — Seguin, TX — Spring Hill, TN — Stewart County, TN — Stillwater, OK — Sugar Land, TX — Sumner County, TN — Suwanee, GA — Unicoi County, TN — Village of La Grange, IL — Village of Northfield, IL

Steve Chandler himself, who presented to the Tourism Board in Hudson, is listed as a speaker to these Tourism conferences: Oklahoma Travel Industry Association, the Kentucky Travel Industry Association, Tennessee Hospitality Association’s Winter Conference and the upcoming South Carolina Governor’s Conference on Tourism.

If you agree with this resolution, please contact your Alderman and let them know.

Thank you very much!
-Rich Volo

Common Council President
Tom DePietro
Phone: (914) 584-5373, councilpres@cityofhudson.org

Alderman, 1st Ward
Rob Bujan
Phone: 917-514-9462, rbujan@cityofhudson.org
Kamal Johnson
Phone: 518-495-5630, kamal.johnson@cityofhudson.org

Alderman, 2nd Ward
Dewan Sarowar
Phone: 518-610-2426, dewan.sarowar@cityofhudson.org

Tiffany Garriga
Phone: 518-965-3372, tiffany.garriga@cityofhudson.org

Alderman, 3rd Ward

Shershah Mizan
Phone: 518-965-5828, shershah.mizan@cityofhudson.org
Calvin Lewis, Jr.
Phone: 518-755-9909, calvin.lewis@cityofhudson.org

Alderman, 4th Ward

Rich Volo
Phone: 518-309-2528, rich.volo@cityofhudson.org

John S. Rosenthal
Phone: 203-788-6121, john.rosenthal@cityofhudson.org

Alderman, 5th Ward

Eileen Halloran
eileen.halloran@cityofhudson.org

Dominic Merante
Phone: 518-965-4345, dominic.merante@cityofhudson.org

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *