Tuesday, April 19, 2016

JP IG: Martiny's CVB Bill "Severely Reduces Oversight"

In a position paper released this afternoon (Tuesday), Jefferson Parish Inspector General David McClintock is critical of State Senator Danny Martiny's bill which would direct all of the parish's Hotel/Motel Tax directly to the Jefferson Convention & Visitor's Bureau (JCVB), bypassing the Parish Council.

In the paper, which was prepared in response to a proposed resolution of support brought forth by JP Councilmembers Ben Zahn and Jennifer Van Vrancken, the IG says that Martiny's bill would negate several Cooperative Endeavor Agreements (CEA) between the Parish and the JCVB and "severely reduce oversight" of tax dollars.

The Parish and the JCVB entered into a CEA in July, 2015, for a 5-year tern, Under the CEA, the JCVB is required to "1) provide quarterly narratives of activity; 2) comply with the Louisiana Code of Governmental Ethics; 3) submit to audit by the Parish; and 4) submit to oversight by the Jefferson Parish Office of Inspector General.."

"Presently, the JCVB is not statutorily entitled to the proceeds of the hotel occupancy tax. Rather, the JCVB is recognized by ordinance as the body who may receive it under a CEA.. The proposed amendment to state law creates a statutory entitlement in favor of the JCVB and effectively eliminates the Parish's ability to ensure accountability and oversight."

"The proposed amendment would also likely excuse the JCVB from performance under the current CEA since the CEA is a bi-lateral agreement providing Parish tax dollars for services. Enforcement rests on the Parish's receipt and control of the revenue."

"The proposed amendment would also adversely affect the Parish's ability engage in meaningful oversight. For this reason, the JPOIG presents the following analysis for consideration and recommends a resolution opposing the amendment to state law."