The Village of Mount Pleasant has come to an agreement with Real Racine that will give the village more control over its hotel tax money.
In June, the village threatened to end its relationship with Real Racine, the Racine County visitor’s bureau, when its contract ended on Jan. 1, 2019. Mount Pleasant officials were even contemplating starting their own tourism commission.
After months of negotiations, both groups have agreed to a two-year contract that will begin in January.
“This new contract is a win/win for both entities,” said Maureen Murphy, village administrator. “It preserves Real Racine’s funding and there is potential for additional funding to Real Racine if they are putting heads in beds.”
The village first raised the question of leaving Real Racine after Foxconn broke ground in Mount Pleasant. The Taiwanese company plans to build a $10 billion LCD screen manufacturing complex that could eventually have 13,000 jobs. Foxconn will make a dramatic impact on the village and it is changing how officials handle numerous issues, including the hotel room tax.
Of Racine County’s nearly 1,400 hotel rooms, Mount Pleasant has 782.
After the hotel room tax is collected, 25 percent goes to the village’s general operating account and 75 percent is reserved for tourism. In the past, Real Racine has always gotten the full 75 percent, said Chris Smith, Mount Pleasant village attorney.
Currently, the village contributes around $700,000 annually to Real Racine, making up about 54 percent of Real Racine’s budget, according to a June interview with organization’s CEO Dave Blank.
On Friday, Blank said he is happy how the contract negotiations ended up.
“It’s great we will all be continuing to work together to promote Racine County,” Blank said.
Under the new agreement, Real Racine will receive the lesser of $725,000 a year or the 75 percent. If Mount Pleasant hits $800,000, Real Racine will receive an additional $25,000 as a bonus payment, Smith said.
“This benefits both entities, but now we have a vehicle for the village to grow a budget to also work on tourism focused more on Mount Pleasant, versus Real Racine, which is focused more on the region,” Smith said.