Council to meet on changes to TMD deal - San Diego, California News Station - KFMB Channel 8 -

Council to meet on changes to TMD deal

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SAN DIEGO (CNS) - The San Diego City Council is scheduled to hold a special meeting Thursday afternoon to consider changes to an operating agreement for the city's Tourism Marketing District.

The City Council re-authorized the district in November, but Mayor Bob Filner has refused to sign the deal, which would start the flow of funding. The TMD is funded by a 2 percent surcharge on hotel rooms and uses the money to advertise San Diego as a tourist destination.

Filner called the agreement bad for taxpayers and proposed his own revisions, which the TMD board rejected. A judge sided with Filner last week, ruling that it was up to him to sign the agreement as it was first proposed -- or not.

The City Council responded Tuesday by passing a resolution that requires Filner's signature on the agreement.

Most of the amendments proposed by the council members deal with indemnification, one of Filner's main concerns. Separate lawsuits have been filed over how the tourism district is funded. City officials want to ensure the general fund is protected in case of adverse legal rulings.

The proposed amendments include having the tourism district post its meeting agendas, provide backup materials and annual reports, as well as performance reviews of groups that get public funds.

The district is also supposed to surrender 10 percent of its budget to city planners for a yearlong celebration of Balboa Park's centennial. Filner asked for at least $6 million for the Balboa Park celebration.

A $5.4 million advertising campaign has been put on hold as a result of the dispute. Tourism officials also issued 85 layoff notices to employees, in case funding isn't received by mid-May.

The mayor dismissed the threat of layoffs, saying the hotels could market San Diego without the city's help.

Filner has 10 days to decide if he will sign or veto the latest City Council resolution. He told council members he was capable of holding up TMD funding for a year or more.

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