It's time for an up or down vote on the Troutdale City Council regarding accountability for Transient Lodging Taxes.
I have requested the following addition to Troutdale's transient lodging tax ordinance as an agenda item at the next available regular meeting:
"The West Columbia Gorge Chamber of Commerce shall furnish annually without cost to the City of Troutdale a review financial statement using a comprehensive method of accounting. The annual accounting, at a minimum, shall set forth with particularity and in accordance with generally accepted accounting principles the amount and nature of all expenditures made with transient lodging tax moneys. Said review statement shall be submitted annually to the Tax Administrator no later than March 1, following the year just ended. If the West Columbia Gorge Chamber of Commerce fails to provide the City the above described review statement the Tax Administrator shall withhold any and all sums due the West Columbia Gorge Chamber of Commerce under this Ordinance until the above described review statement is received by the City. Any interest accruing on the funds withheld by the Tax Administrator under this section shall be and remain the property of the City of Troutdale. The West Columbia Gorge Chamber of Commerce shall make all of its books, records, and accounts which in any manner relate to the expenditure of transient lodging tax moneys available to the City's Finance Director for examination or audit upon reasonable notice. In addition, the City shall require annual reports from the West Columbia Gorge Chamber of Commerce designed to demonstrate the achievement of goals relative to the promotion of tourism and commerce in the City. The City's obligation to annually contract with the West Columbia Gorge Chamber of Commerce shall be contingent upon that agency's satisfactory performance, which shall be demonstrated by annual financial audits and periodic, independent assessments of the West Columbia Gorge Chamber of Commerce's performance in achieving approved goals and objectives. Such independent assessments shall be conducted at least every three years, shall be paid for by the West Columbia Gorge Chamber of Commerce, and shall be conducted by qualified professionals approved by the City. Said obligation shall additionally be contingent upon compliance with all applicable laws pertaining to the operation and governance of non-profit corporations."
This will be discussed at a future Troutdale City Council meeting. It's time to see where my fellow city councilors stand when it comes to tax dollar accountability.