TACO meeting to cover taxes, tourism funding

CROWLEY, Texas — The Texas Association of Campground Owners (TACO) is expecting to have its best Spring Meeting ever with important government affairs updates involving property taxes, early school start dates and tourism funding.

“I think this is going to be our best Spring Meeting yet,” said Brian Schaeffer, TACO’s executive director and CEO.

The three-day meeting, which starts on the afternoon of Sunday, April 22, at the Lake Conroe / Houston North KOA in Montgomery, Texas, will include a legislative roundtable with Ron Hinkle, TACO’s legislative consultant, as well as Rep. Matt Krause, who serves on legislative committees for culture, recreation and tourism as well as land and resource management.

TACO’s legislative roundtables will cover property taxes, which Schaeffer said “are getting out of control,” as well as strategies to deal with the growing numbers of Texas school districts that are starting their school start dates earlier in the summer, reducing potential tourism revenue for campgrounds, hotels and restaurants.

Rep. Krause will also discuss efforts by the Texas Legislature to redirect transient occupancy tax revenue to the general fund and ways to prevent that from happening so that these funds continue to be exclusively used for tourism promotion.

Following Sunday afternoon’s legislative roundtable will be a happy hour with vendors and the opening of TACO’s annual tradeshow, which has attracted “45 to 50” companies, including large numbers of technology companies as well as park model RV manufacturers, several of which have production facilities in Texas.

Sunday evening’s entertainment will include TACO’s popular casino night activities.

Rep. Krause will join TACO members again during a Monday morning breakfast recap of legislative issues. TACO’s annual awards presentations will also take place during the breakfast session. Toby O’Rourke, the recently appointed president of Billings, Mont.-based Kampgrounds of America, Inc. (KOA), will deliver the morning keynote address focusing on the latest camping trends as well as the importance and value of transient guests.

TACO’s tradeshow will continue on Monday as well, and will be followed by an educational session focusing on best practices when dealing with long-term guests, which will be conducted by Jenny Lee Smith of Austin, Texas-based Cobb & Counsel, TACO’s attorney.

Schaeffer said park operators frequently have issues involving long-term guests. “We don’t get any calls about daily or weekly guests. Almost all of the operational calls we get have to do with longer term, extended-stay guests,” he said, adding, “It’s critically important that park operators hear what Jenny has to say.”

During last year’s Spring Meeting, Smith attracted a standing room only crowd with her discussion of laws governing criminal background checks and other guest screening procedures.

Monday night’s dinner will be followed by TACO’s annual auction, which raises money for the association’s government affairs program.

Tuesday’s sessions will include a class titled “Understanding your unique sales position,” by Larry Brownfield, KOA’s director of franchise development. Paul Croteau of Kingston, Wash.-based Utility Supply Group will lead a class on electrical trends, and will update TACO members on the latest developments involving the National Electric Code and NFPA 1194.

Marvin Aga from Sturgis, S.D.-based Leavitt Recreation & Hospitality Insurance will lead a class on risk management, a timely topic given the extensive storm related damage that Texas parks experienced with Hurricane Harvey last summer.

For more information about TACO’s Spring Meeting, please visit www.tacomembers.com.

SOURCE: TACO press release

Ronnie Wendt

Ronnie Wendt

Ronnie Wendt has been a writer/editor for more than 25 years, working in law enforcement, aviation, supply chain and the RV industry. She's not a stranger to RVs, however. She grew up camping, and still camps as many weekends as she can every year. She is the owner of In Good Company Communications and can be reached at ingoodcompanycommunications@gmail.com.

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