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TDA by-laws approved

MURFREESBORO—Town officials here are moving ahead with creating a Murfreesboro Tourism Development Authority (TDA).

On Tuesday, the Murfreesboro Town Council approved by-laws for the TDA.

During his report to council, Town Attorney Buddy Jones said the board adopted the ordinance establishing the TDA in January. However, the by-laws that the Authority would adhere to were not approved by council and, therefore, no appointments were made to the Authority.

The creation of a Murfreesboro TDA was required after the General Assembly’s passage of an Occupancy Tax. The three percent tax would be paid by those utilizing any room, lodging or accommodation furnished in a hotel, motel, inn, bed and breakfast or tourist camp.

Jones, along with Town Administrator Lee Capps, confirmed to council members that the minutes from the January 12 meeting made reference to the board adopting the TDA ordinance, but not the by-laws.

“The minutes reflect on January 12 that Council member (Gloria) Odum made the motion and Councilman (Billy) Theodorakis seconded the motion to accept the ordinance creating the Murfreesboro Tourism Development Authority,” said Jones. “It would be appropriate at this time to adopt the by-laws.”

Theodorakis asked if there was a difference between a commission and a public authority. He said a couple years ago the council had a problem with the definition of an authority.

Capps likened the relationship of the council and TDA to that of a board of commissioners and a board of education.

He referred to article seven of the TDA by-laws which addresses the fiscal affairs of the entity. Section 1 of the article notes that the council will review and comment on the TDA’s annual proposed budget prior to the council’s adoption of it; additionally, Section 3 of the article states that the Authority is responsible for an annual independent audit.     

On a quarterly basis, the town will remit the net proceeds of the tax to TDA which, in turn, will use at least two-thirds of the funds to promote travel and tourism in Murfreesboro. The remaining one-third would be used for tourism-related expenditures, according to the Murfreesboro Occupancy Tax approved by the General Assembly in August 2009.

“This authority will be a public authority,” said Capps. “You will appoint these members, these members will in fact operate independent from you (council), their decisions will be independent with the exception of their budget and their permissiveness to function with you guys and you can mandate for change at times if you so chose.”

Theodorakis asked if the by-laws could be amended in the future. Jones said they could.

Councilwoman Odum motioned to approve the by-laws for the TDA. The motion was seconded by Councilman Lloyd Hill and passed without objection.

According to the town ordinance creating the TDA, five members will make up the entity. Two members will be individuals who are affiliated with the businesses that collect the occupancy tax, another two members will be individuals who are affiliated with businesses and/or non-profit tourist attractions/organizations that are currently active in the promotion of travel and tourism in the town, and one member will act as an “at-large” representative that has an active interest in the promotion of travel and tourism in Murfreesboro. Jones said at least one of the five members can be from the council.  

Hertford County and the Town of Ahoskie also have a three percent occupancy tax.