In response to the commentary by Alex Nelson (“Park board revenue has not soared under de Schaun, The Daily News, Nov. 19): I’m often amused to read guest columns and commentaries when authors play “fast and loose” with data.
There’s always a tendency to compare apples to oranges when the writer clearly doesn’t understand the information received or reviewed. With this in mind, please allow me to set the record straight on the revenue performance of the parks — Seawolf, Stewart, R.A. Apffel, Urban and Dellanera — hotel occupancy tax, tourism development and beach maintenance funds under Kelly de Schaun’s leadership from 2012 to 2018.
The parks have grown operating revenue from about $3.3 million in 2012 to almost $4.9 million in 2018. This represents a 49 percent growth. In addition, the parks received grants, from the Federal Emergency Management Agency, for example, of $4.5 million during this time. This revenue isn’t considered in the operating revenue growth mentioned.
While beach maintenance expenses did indeed increase over the aforementioned time period, the author incorrectly correlates that with park revenue. Park revenue is revenue generated by the parks (enterprise funds), while beach maintenance is funded by hotel occupancy tax (government funds).
One of the most disturbing assertions underscores the author’s lack of knowledge surrounding the collection and disbursement of hotel occupancy tax. There are no discrepancies. The $7.7 million and $12.5 million are the park board hotel occupancy tax (six pennies) and the $11.7 million and $18.6 million are the full hotel occupancy tax (nine pennies) collected by the park board before disbursement.
Once again, let’s look at the facts in response to the assertion that hotel occupancy tax hasn’t increased. Hotel occupancy tax penny value was about $1.3 million in 2012 and almost $2.1 million in 2018; an increase of 59.7 percent. Tourism development expense increased 58.2 percent over the same period following the park board’s procedure of matching expense to revenue.
So our conclusion, after looking through the proper lens, is that de Schaun has done an admirable job.
I hope this clears up some misinformation spread by the author.