Twenty-six nonprofits will be allowed to dip into about $600,000 of bed tax funding immediately and prove spending to the Town of Hilton Head Island later, Town Council decided Tuesday.
Historically, the town has required the nonprofits be reimbursed for pre-approved projects before receiving accommodations tax funding — a tax placed on short-term rentals that can be spent on promoting tourism.
Town Council voted unanimously Tuesday to allow the groups to spend up to 25 percent of their approved funding for 2017 immediately, town attorney Brian Hulbert said. He said the nonprofits will have up to Dec. 31, 2017, to produce receipts for the funds spent.
Town Council members said during the meeting that the decision was made in order to provide hurricane relief to the nonprofits.
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“This is an unusual year, and unusual times may suggest we operate in an unusual way,” council member Bill Harkins said.
Yet, some did question the move before voting in favor, including Mayor David Bennett.
“I think it puts the town in the lending business, and I don’t think the town should be in the lending business,” Bennett said. “I’m envisioning an article in The Island Packet: Town of Hilton Head chasing XYZ nonprofit for funds.”
Overall, the town approved about $2.4 million in grants for the 2017 year. The town also will receive an additional $1.3 million from the bed tax for its own tourism initiatives.
▪ Art League of Hilton Head: $65,000
▪ David M. Carmines Memorial Foundation: $55,000
▪ Hilton Head Concours d’Elegance: $215,000
▪ Hilton Head Island Recreation Association: $20,000
▪ Hilton Head Island St. Patrick’s Day Parade: $16,000
▪ Hilton Head Island Wine and Food Inc.: $130,000
▪ Hilton Head Island-Bluffton Chamber and Hilton Head Island Visitor & Convention Bureau: $405,000
▪ Lean Ensemble Theater: $30,000
▪ Lowcountry Golf Course Owners Association: $50,000
▪ Martin Luther King Jr. Celebration: $700
▪ Shelter Cove Harbour Co.: $76,800
▪ The Coastal Discovery Museum: $239,340
▪ The Heritage Library: $15,000
▪ The Sandbox: $54,000
▪ Town of Hilton Head Island: $1,365,900
▪ Arts Center of Coastal Carolina: $400,000
▪ Hilton Head Dance Theater: $15,000
▪ Hilton Head Symphony Orchestra: $230,000
▪ Main Street Youth Theater: $15,000
▪ The Heritage Library: $50,000
Reimbursed with maximum caps
▪ Gullah Museum of Hilton Head Island: $35,000
▪ Harbour Town Merchants Association: $16,705
▪ Hilton Head Choral Society: $35,000
▪ Mitchelville Preservation Project: $110,000
▪ Native Island Business & Community: $110,000
▪ The First Tee of the Lowcountry: $20,000
Receiving more than requested
▪ Skull Creek July fourth Celebration: $17,825
▪ 12 Jewels of Life: $50,000