Nauvoo Hotel Motel Board Promotional Fees

It’s unclear who created the form being used by the Tourism Board to collect these fees, but it appears to be simply an edited version of the one used by the City in collection of actual Hotel Motel Taxes from operators within the City of Nauvoo, as allowed by City and State law.

Below is the Form utilized by the Hotel Motel Board to collect Promotional Fees from nightly stay providers located outside the City Limits. Note that payments are required to be made payable to the “Nauvoo Tourism Office“, not the City of Nauvoo. They are required to be mailed to “Nauvoo Tourism Office, PO Box 500, Nauvoo, IL 62354,” not to the City of Nauvoo, or its address.

City and State law require that any payments collected by the City, be made to the City, at the City’s office or address, and to the City Treasurer. (See “Who May Receive Payments for the City?“)

A review by the new Hotel Motel Board, and the City Council, of this process, and an audit of funds received would seem to be warranted. We requested (in April of 2017) records related to the collection of these fees, but have not yet received the information requested. This is an element of the Court Complaint which is currently underway in Hancock County Court. The City has requested that this complaint be dismissed.

Additional review would be wise to ensure compliance with current State and City ordinances related to the Hotel Motel Board, which restrict activities by the City’s Hotel Motel Board to promotion efforts within the municipality.

 

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A Response to Mayor’s Correspondence Comment

In the most recent City Council Meeting (October 10, 2017), the Mayor referred to a letter from the Attorney General’s Office. He said the letter found the City had complied with a recent FOIA request we submitted and he used it as an opportunity to congratulate the City FOIA Officer for her performance. This letter was a response to a request for review we had filed, related to continued failure to provide information we had requested. In particular, Hotel Motel Board meeting minutes from April 2012, where the decision to hire the current Tourism Director was made. We had previously requested these documents as part of a broader request, and the Attorney General instructed the City to provide them (our February 27, 2017 request). When the City continued to withhold these documents, we filed another request that was more specific requesting the documents for these meeting dates. The City denied our request, and we filed a request  for review with the Attorney General.

What the Attorney General actually did say in its response to our request, was that, after speaking with the City’s FOIA Officer, they were informed that “the Hotel Motel Board did not prepare minutes or verbatim recordings of these meetings, and therefore, it does not possess the records you seek.” So, because the City contends that the Board did not prepare the legally required documents and recordings of these meetings, they do not exist, and the FOIA statute does not require them to provide information that they say does not exist. Out of all the meetings in 2012, these meetings were unique. The City says these meetings had no minutes recorded, while all the others did. We’re forced to accept that the FOIA Officer can refuse to provide information by saying that it was not kept.

And, because the meetings were five years ago, it is too late to find that the City violated the Open Meetings Act by not recording the meetings, or preparing minutes as required by law. The Attorney General did not require the City to comply with our request, “because you submitted your Request for Review more that two years after the date of the alleged violations, section 3.5(a) of OMA precludes this office from reviewing your OMA allegations.” Rather than stating that the City behaved properly as the Mayor suggested, it is more a matter that the law states it is too late to do anything about it. (The full response is provided below).

We are happy to provide live streaming, and archiving of all meetings, minutes and documents on openNauvoo. This will help ensure that this is not an issue in the future.

 

 

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Nauvoo Residents Beware: IRS IMPERSONATION SCAM

Residents of Nauvoo have been receiving calls from individuals impersonating Internal Revenue Service (IRS) employees. They use the threat of arrest to obtain money from victims by falsely representing that the victims owe back taxes or other fees. The perpetrators demand that the victims send them money via iTunes cards, other prepaid debit cards, money orders, or wire transfers from their banks. Please review the official IRS notification.

 

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A New Hotel-Motel Tax Board

We’ll let the meeting speak for itself. We encourage all our readers to watch the meeting. Like all good movies, don’t leave early. The discussion about the Tourism Director’s evaluation continues in the Finance & Personnel Meeting held shortly after, and also available below.

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