Beaufort awards more than $170K in tax grants, adds up to $10,000 for Candice Glover visit

emoody@beaufortgazette.comMay 14, 2013 

Beaufort Mayor Billy Keyserling presents St. Helena Island resident and "American Idol" finalist Candice Glover with a key to the city of Beaufort during her hometown visit May 4, 2013, in Beaufort. The Beaufort Regional Chamber of Commerce received a $10,000 accommodations tax grant to help pay for the event.

DELAYNA EARLEY — Staff photo Buy Photo

  • In other business, council:

  • Discussed a draft budget of about $18.1 million for fiscal year 2014. City manager Scott Dadson is recommending council consider a $40 transportation fee for vehicles and a public service fee for property owners, such as churches, schools and Beaufort Memorial Hospital.

  • Met in closed-door session to discuss proposed contracts, land acquisition and personnel. The discussions included the proposed Mossy Oaks fire station and the Beaufort Commerce Park, according to Dadson.

  • Passed a resolution supporting the local option sales tax as a way to increase revenue county-wide.

  • Awarded a $23,750 contract to Andrews & Burgess, Inc., for the Duke Street Phase II revitalization project.

  • Reappointed Ned Tupper and Mary Sharp as city judges.

  • Approved a request by the Wardell Family YMCA to use the Beaufort Downtown Marina boat ramp for its Learn to Swim Program on June 15.

  • Gave final approval to changing Greenlawn Drive from a main to a neighborhood street.

After more than six months of discussions and application changes, Beaufort City Council will give out $172,984 in accommodations tax grants to local non-profit and event organizations.

Council voted unanimously on the awards Tuesday night, with Councilman Mike Sutton absent.

One last-minute addition was up to $10,000 given to the Beaufort Regional Chamber of Commerce for Candice Glover's "American Idol" hometown visit celebration May 4.

The chamber is footing the bill for that event-- $36,982 to date, not including police and public works costs, The community has raised $15,930 so far, chamber executive director Blakely Williams said.

The city has indicated it will pay for the homecoming's police and public works costs, as has the town of Port Royal for police work. Beaufort County is also considering paying for Sheriff's Office costs, Williams said. The total of those costs is not yet available.

Jeff Evans, chairman of the Tourist Development Advisory Committee that makes accommodations tax recommendations, and city manager Scott Dadson recommended council wait to allocate money for the Glover visit until the next round of grants in the fall, when all costs from the weekend are known.

Robb Wells, director of the chamber's tourism division, said the chamber has already committed to spending the money. Williams said she did not think community fundraising would cover costs.

Accommodations tax money is typically awarded in the late summer or early fall, but the committee spent about half a year retooling criteria for awards and the process by which the money is given out.

The accommodations tax, often referred to as a "bed tax," is a levy on overnight lodging to fund programs promoting tourism and attracting visitors.

The tax grants include:

  • Chamber of Commerce, Destination Marketing: $70,000 requested, $60,000 allotted, of which up to $10,000 is for the Glover celebration.

  • Chamber of Commerce, Visitors Center: $40,000 requested, $43,750 allotted, $18,750 of which is specifically to survey event attendees.

  • Beaufort History Museum, Civil War Exhibit: $1,200 requested and allotted.

  • Black Chamber of Commerce, Destination Marketing: $60,000 requested, $25,000 allotted

  • DragonBoat Beaufort, DragonBoat Race Day: $5,000 requested and allotted.

  • Exchange Club, Ghost Tours: $4,500 requested, $3,500 allotted.

  • Friends of Hunting Island, hotel passes: $750 requested and allotted.

  • Habitat for Humanity, High on the Hog Fest: $2,500 requested, $1,500 allotted

  • Historic Beaufort Foundation, Essential Guides Magazine ad: $2,700 requested and allotted.

  • Historic Beaufort Foundation, walking tour guide: $2,596 requested, $1,500 allotted.

  • Historic Beaufort Foundation, Charleston Mercury advertising: $2,016 requested, $1,000 allotted.

  • Historic Beaufort Foundation, Verdier House ad: $600 requested and allotted.

  • Independence Fund, Lt. Dan Week 4: $15,000 requested, $0 allotted because Lt. Dan Band Concert was moved to Charleston.

  • Lowcountry Tourism Commission, tourism marketing: $16,500 requested, $8,000 allotted.

  • Main St. Beaufort, USA; festival marketing: $10,484.50 requested and allotted.

  • Penn Center, Sam Doyle Exhibit, Heritage Days: $15,000 requested, $8,000 allotted.

  • Related content

    1. Beaufort City Council considers accommodation tax grants, April 16, 2013
    2. Application process to begin for Beaufort accommodation tax grants, Jan. 10, 2013
    3. Beaufort's bed-tax grant process remains under review, Dec. 3, 2012
    4. As a tighter budget looms, Beaufort considers penny-sales tax, April 26, 2013

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