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