SA seeks increase from 3B tax revenue

Ellen Nelson

Ellen NelsonNews Editor

Students, Students’ Association representatives, SDSU staff and community members packed Brookings’ City Hall chamber on Oct. 26 showing support for a request for a $15,000 increase in 3B tax revenue for SDSU.

“The lack of communication between [SDSU and the City of Brookings]I feel was a main concern of mine,” said Brett Monson, president of SA to members of city council.

The 3B tax, commonly referred to as the bed, booze and board tax because it taxes off-sale alcohol sales, prepared food and lodging, is an additional or discretionary tax which governments can impose on leisurely items. Aramark, SDSU’s food service provider, pays the tax. Revenue from 3B taxes goes to fund entertainment programs developed to bring more people to Brookings and to help stimulate the local economy.

SA representatives requested the additional $15,000 of 3B revenue because of increased taxes paid indirectly by students through Aramark food purchases.

“With the $15,000 we’ll use that money to fund events for students … and to make them bigger and better,” Monson said at the city council meeting.

Aramark pays $50,000 annually in 3B tax, based on its annual average sales of $5.5 million. This amount is $15,000 more than the original, minimum amount of $35,000 SDSU received from the 3B tax. The amount was agreed and voted upon nearly five years ago by SDSU and the city.

In fiscal year 2009, SDSU students paid 60 percent of the city’s 3B tax. Students generated a total of $667,804 for the Brookings community. SA members told council members that they are opposed to the 3B tax and suggested that students already support the local economy substantially without the 3B tax.

On Oct. 25, SA representatives, along with their advisor, Zeno Wicks III, met with Brookings City Manager Jeff Weldon, Mayor Tim Reed and the Visitor’s Promotions Committee to discuss SDSU’s request for the additional $15,000.

City officials were not hesitant to discuss SA’s request, but adding the item to the city council’s meeting agenda was an issue.

“State law requires more than 24 hours in advance in order to apply any additional items to the agenda,” Weldon said in reference to the request not being placed on the committee’s agenda for the Oct. 26 meeting.

There weren’t any budget requests from students before its approval deadline, Weldon said. Though there seems to be some miscommunication and disagreement between the city and SDSU representatives.

“All of the information was on time,” Wicks said, regarding SA’s request last spring to receive the $15,000.

Former Mayor Scott Munstermann and his council approved the original amount SDSU was to receive from the 3B tax in order to increase student involvement on campus.

“A deal was set to draw in students to stay on campus over the weekend,” said Eric Haiar, the state and local government chair of SA.

This money agreed upon was to be used for promotional events and included no provisions for an increase, Weldon said.

The total amount of 3B money available to Brookings organizations is $250,000. The Visitor’s Promotional Committee receives requests on how to distribute that money. In the past, 3B money has helped to fund sports tournaments, conventions and other events that may attract people to Brookings, Weldon said.

Weldon said that SA only has to have the visitor’s promotional committee approve its request, since the annual budget has already been set and approved.

“The visitor’s promotional committee has the authority to give whatever amounts to the students they want,” Weldon said.

Another option that Reed presented is to increase the minimum $35,000 to include the $15,000, which he said might help to prevent any future issues.

Reed ended the presentation with the agreement that at the next City Council meeting, Nov. 9, SA’s request will be on the agenda and will be voted upon by members.

Audience members were content with the overall results of the meeting and the lack of available seats.

“Ultimately, I’m very satisfied with [city council’s] openness,” Erin Kennedy, vice president of SA said. “I’m very pleased to see students come out and show that they truly care about the amount of funds we’re trying to get back to them.”

The Nov. 9 meeting will begin at 6 p.m. in City Hall, 311

Third Ave., downstairs in the Council Chambers. All are welcome and encouraged to attend.

#1.1730928:3037310133.png:3-B-Tax-2-Ryan-Robinson.png:SA State and Local Chair Eric Haiar and President Brett Monson presented a claim at the Oct. 26 city hall meeting requesting the extra money from the city?s 3B tax, built up by inflation totaling $15,000.:Collegian Photo by Ryan Robinson#1.1730927:375335452.png:3-B-Tax-1-Ryan-Robinson.png:SA State and Local Chair Eric Haiar and President Brett Monson presented a claim at the Oct. 26 city hall meeting requesting the extra money from the city?s 3B tax, built up by inflation totaling $15,000.:Collegian Photo by Ryan Robinson