(a) Any city, county, or entities or authorities thereof may apply to the State Director of Finance for state assistance payments for any eligible facilities. The city, county, or entities or authorities thereof shall file an initial application with the Director of Finance, which shall be in writing and shall describe: (i) the eligible facilities; (ii) the need for said facilities or the benefit therefrom; and (iii) the financing thereof, including the principal and interest payments for the bonds.
(b) The Director of Finance shall promptly review such initial application and shall notify the applicant of any additional information that may be necessary.
(c) After reviewing the initial application and upon reasonable notice to the applicant, the Director of Finance shall hold a public hearing on the application and maintain an official record of such hearing. He shall give notice of the time, place and purpose of the public hearing by publication one time in a newspaper of general circulation within the boundaries of the applicant, not less than 10 days prior to the hearing.
(d) Within 90 days after such public hearing, the Director of Finance shall: (i) determine whether the facilities described in the initial application are eligible facilities; (ii) notify the applicant of its determination; and (iii) if said facilities are determined to be eligible, approve such application and immediately certify the same to the Governor and Joint Legislative Council of the Alabama Legislature.
(e) After the initial application has been approved, the city, county, or entities or authorities thereof must establish a base number of convention delegates which shall be computed by taking an annual average number of convention delegates attending national and regional meetings in said city, county, or the entity's or authority's region over the previous five-year period. For purposes of determining such base number, each county, city, or entity or authority thereof is hereby authorized to require each hotel or motel to report quarterly to it the total number of convention delegates in attendance for any national or regional convention or meeting which utilizes 50 or more room nights per meeting. The city, county, or entity or authority thereof shall then file an annual application with the Director of Finance, which shall estimate: (i) the number of additional delegates, over and above the base average number, who will patronize the eligible facilities during the year; (ii) their estimated expenditures; (iii) the estimated additional state lodging tax revenues to be derived as a result of the expenditures (taking into consideration the investment multiplier); (iv) the expected additional expense, if any, to the state; and (v) any other matters prescribed by the Director of Finance. The descriptions required by (i), (ii), and (iii) shall be supported by statistical surveys satisfactory to the Director of Finance.
(f) The Director of Finance shall review all such annual applications, determine the amount of state assistance payments that would be required under such estimates, as determined in paragraph (i) of this section, and shall include in the proposed budget to the Governor, a line item appropriation in such amount, and certify such amount to the State Legislature; provided, however, that in no fiscal year shall the entire amount budgeted for all eligible facilities exceed $3,000,000.
(g) From the net proceeds of the state transient occupancy tax proceeds levied pursuant to Section 40-26-1, the provisions of Section 40-26-20 to the contrary notwithstanding, the Legislature shall appropriate annually such amount as it deems necessary and desirable to satisfy all such projected state assistance payments for the next fiscal year. In the first full fiscal year after May 11, 1989, this amount shall not exceed $500,000; in the second fiscal year after May 11, 1989, this amount shall not exceed $1,000,000; in the third fiscal year after May 11, 1989, this amount shall not exceed $2,000,000; in the fourth fiscal year after May 11, 1989, this amount shall not exceed $3,000,000; and in no subsequent fiscal year shall the amount budgeted ever exceed $3,000,000. Such amounts shall be credited to the Convention Facilities Fund established pursuant to Section 11-100-5.
(h) Each city, county, or entity or authority thereof that has filed an annual application for assistance payments for the current fiscal year shall file a request for state assistance payments with the State Department of Finance within 30 days after the end of each quarter during said fiscal year. The quarterly request shall include the actual number of delegates that patronized eligible facilities during the preceding quarter, the average number of days attendance for such delegates, and signed documentation from an executive of each group or association attesting to the number of delegates and the average number of days attendance. The quarterly request shall also include the delegates' average expenditures, the delegates' total estimated expenditures, taking into consideration the investment multiplier, the total estimated additional state lodging tax revenues generated and the amount of state assistance payments requested by the city, county or entity or authority thereof for such quarter. The investment multiplier for each city, county or entity or authority thereof shall be determined by the Director of Finance with due consideration given to the opinion of the International Association of Convention and Visitor Bureaus as to what the investment multiplier should be for such city, county, or entity or authority thereof. The investment multiplier, as determined by the Director of Finance, shall be not greater than five.
(i) The amount of any state assistance payments to which each city, county, or entity or authority thereof having filed an annual application hereunder shall be entitled, shall be an amount equal to two-thirds of the total sum of additional state transient occupancy tax revenue, if any, generated in connection with such city, county, or entity's or authority's eligible facility for the preceding quarter, as determined in paragraph (h) of this section. The maximum amount of any city, county, or entity's or authority's state assistance payments for any quarter shall be limited to 50 percent of the bond debt service requirements, including principal and interest, for the quarter for which such state assistance payments have been requested.
(j) In any fiscal year in which approved state assistance payments exceed the maximum allowed under Section 11-100-4(g), all participating cities, counties, and entities or authorities thereof shall receive a pro rata share of the amount they would be due to receive otherwise hereunder. In the event state assistance payments are set aside in the Convention Facilities Fund and are unclaimed at the end of the fiscal year, such remaining funds shall revert to the fund to which the taxes would have otherwise been originally deposited.