Established in 2001 to improve efforts to attract tourism to Martin County, the Tourist Development Council (TDC) and staff of the Martin County Office of Tourism and Marketing are responsible for making recommendations to the Board of County Commissioners (BCC) on matters relating to the Tourist Development Tax.
The Tourist Development Council (TDC) shall meet at least once each quarter and, from time to time, shall make recommendations to the county governing board (BOCC) for the effective operation of the special projects or for uses of the tourist development tax revenue and perform such other duties as may be prescribed by county ordinance or resolution. The council shall continuously review expenditures of revenues from the tourist development trust fund and shall receive, at least quarterly, expenditure reports from the county governing board or its designee. Expenditures which the council believes to be unauthorized shall be reported to the county governing board and the Department of Revenue. The governing board and the department shall review the findings of the council and take appropriate administrative or judicial action to ensure compliance with this section. The changes in the composition of the membership of the tourist development council mandated by chapter 86-4, Laws of Florida, and this act shall not cause the interruption of the current term of any person who is a member of a council on October 1, 1996.
The Tourist Development Tax (commonly referred to as the “bed tax”) funds are currently distributed as outlined in Martin County Ordinance 967.
1. Promotion (Category A): "Promote and advertise Martin County tourism related activities throughout the State, nationally and internationally for the purpose of development of overnight tourism, including the provision of tourism promotion, advertising, marketing, public relations, and sales including arts, film and television marketing and development."
2. Sports Promotion (Category B): "Provide for the promotion of sports events and activities to promote the County as a sports destination."
3. Capital Projects (Category C): "Provide for the acquisition, construction, extension, enlargement, remodeling, repair and/or improvement of a museum, exposition center, nature center, and other tourist related attractions."
4. Beach & Inlet Maintenance (Category D): The current ordinance language contained in the County’s Tourist Development Plan (Category I) will revert to F.S. § 125.0104(5)(a)(5) with emphasis on dedicated funding for St. Lucie Inlet maintenance: "To finance beach improvement and maintenance, maintenance of the St. Lucie Inlet as well as those uses set forth in F.S. § 125.0104(5)(a)(5), and as may thereafter be amended. The dedicated maintenance funding of the St. Lucie Inlet shall not exceed Five Hundred Thousand Dollars ($500,000.00) per fiscal year."
The Tourist Development Council consists of nine members appointed by the County Commission according to a formula established in the Florida Statutes. One member is the County Commission Chair or his/her designee. Two represent municipal governments in the county. Three represent businesses who collect bed tax and the remaining three represent tourism-related entities that do not collect a bed tax. The members of the council shall serve for staggered terms of 4 years.