Board recommends zero ATAX funds for Lt. Dan Weekend

August 31, 2011 

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A Beaufort County board that distributes accommodations-tax money has recommended no funding for next year's Lt. Dan Weekend because organizers of the event submitted a "poor application."

The Independence Fund, which sponsors the Lt. Dan Weekend, probably will still hold it in 2012, even without that money, said Steve Danyluk, the fund's founder.

But Danyluk said he might take his case to council's Finance Committee, which likely will discuss the funding recommendations sometime this month.

"I have no idea how this process works; I'm not on the inside," Danyluk said. "If that's an available option for us, then absolutely."

This is the first year the Lt. Dan Weekend has applied for money from the county Accommodations Tax Board, which reviews funding requests for tourism-related events.

Thirty-five groups pitched proposals Monday to the board totaling $790,126.

However, only $252,000 is available.

Chairman Dick Farmer said board members try to judge how much money each group actually needs, "because nobody gets everything they want."

Recommended allocations this year range from 19 percent to 77 percent of amounts requested.

Zero funding is suggested only for the Lt. Dan Weekend and two projects the board didn't think would draw tourists.

The Independence Fund requested $83,000, according to records, but the board didn't think its application was up to par.

A copy of that application provided by the county does leave some questions unanswered. It does not, for instance, give an estimate of the number of tourists the Lt. Dan Weekend generates.

Danyluk said he knows the event is a draw.

"I'm looking at online ticket sales, and 80 to 85 percent of them are coming from people who don't live in Beaufort County," he said.

But Danyluk argued his group is different from others requesting the funding, and he said he can't hire consultants to document the event's impact.

Farmer declined to discuss the board's decisions until they have been presented to County Council.

Councilman Stu Rodman, chairman of the Finance Committee, said the committee generally accepts the board's recommendations. But council has made special exceptions in the past when nonprofit groups didn't meet procedural rules, he said.

Follow reporter Kyle Peterson at twitter.com/EyeOnBeaufortCo.

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