Letters to the Editor

Arts, culture also part of bed-tax grants mission

The Nov. 3 editorial very clearly analyzes the challenges faced by the Accommodations Tax Advisory Committee in making its recommendations to Town Council regarding the apportionment of 2010 accommodations-tax revenues.

In doing so, you "suggest the committee focus primarily on projects that would draw tourists here." That is good advice, and it is what the committee tries its best to do. The accommodations-tax revenues are generated by tourists and should be used to encourage people to come here and enjoy the many services and events Hilton Head Island organizations provide.

But when it comes to funding for the Arts Center of Coastal Carolina and the Hilton Head Island Symphony Orchestra, we should remember the provisions of the state accommodations-tax law. It specifically includes arts and cultural events as appropriate recipients of accommodations taxes and, in fact, also requires that the committee include among its members a representative from the arts. Such provisions recognize the importance of providing arts and cultural activities, not only to Hilton Head's residents, but also to its visitors.

The challenge to the committee comes in making recommendations to Town Council that balance the importance of drawing tourists and serving them once they are here. Our committee is well aware of this and will do its best to meet that commitment. Your editorial was a good prompt to make sure we keep that in mind.

Willis O. Shay, chairmanAccommodations Tax Advisory CommitteeHilton Head Island

Editor's note: Shay also serves as director at large on the Hilton Head Island Symphony Orchestra's board of directors.