About $200,000 in accommodations grants approved by Beaufort City Council

emoody@beaufortgazette.comMarch 13, 2014 

In three meetings Tuesday night, two city of Beaufort voting groups will discuss and vote on a number of issues, including accommodations tax grants.

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After consulting state laws on how accommodations tax grants can be spent and the applications of those seeking money, Beaufort City Council has decided to give about $200,000 of an available $225,000.

City Council decided on the grants during its Tuesday meeting and voted on each award separately.

An accommodations tax -- also called a "bed tax" -- is a levy on overnight lodging to fund programs that promote tourism and attract visitors.

Two of the 14 organizations that applied for money were denied.

The Port Royal Sound Foundation's request for $75,000 to build a maritime center on Lemon Island was turned down because the center is outside city limits and therefore likely ineligible to receive an award, according to city finance director Kathy Todd.

ARTworks/Arts Council's request for $5,000 was denied because the program director who originally applied for the Compassion Art Series on behalf of ARTworks now works for the University of South Carolina Beaufort, according to Gail Westerfield, who is on the committee that made grant recommendations to council and works with ARTworks.

The council also decided to set aside $6,000. It will be earmarked for Friends of Hunting Island, which wants to team with CityTrex, a company that makes and markets downloadable tour apps. Todd was concerned the project might not meet the law's requirements to receive a grant; the money will be released only if those concerns can be cleared up, the council decided.

Scroll to the end of this story for an interactive graphic showing accommodations tax requests, recommendations and awards.

Follow reporter Erin Moody at twitter.com/IPBG_Erin.

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Interactive graphic

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*Friends of Hunting Island request is approved pending clarity on legality of the award.

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