LTAC funds given to 14 local groups

The city will award $125,000 worth of Lodging Tax funds to be dispersed in 2011 among 14 community organizations, including the city.

The lodging tax is a 2 percent tax levied by the state on all overnight stays within city limits, and is doubled by the state and returned to the city.

Considering the city’s severe budget cuts and down economy, competition for the funding was keen with 25 community groups sending proposals totaling $280,270 worth of projects. None of the organizations selected were granted their full request.

Award winners included the Bainbridge Island Chamber of Commerce with the largest award of $12,000 for an information center and $7,000 for a ferry kiosk. Bainbridge Island Downtown Association was granted $10,000 for a walkabout guide and the Bainbridge Island Lodging Association was granted $8,900 for its website. The Tourism Alliance received $12,000 for destination marketing and the Winery Alliance of Bainbridge Island was granted $10,000 for Wine Weekend. Proposals could receive up to $15,000 each.

As a symbol of the economy, only $10,690 was granted for capital projects. The council voted to waive the requirement that 50 percent of the funds go to capital expenditures.

“People need money just for operating costs this year, and many are not at the point where then can be dedicating money to capital expenditures,” said Councilor Kim Brackett, who served as chair of the Lodging Tax Advisory Committee. “It would be great if we could reach that 50 percent capital mark, but if we don’t receive the applications requesting that money then its difficult to award.”

Several council members expressed interest in funding more capital projects next year, but understood the difficult economic situation and struggling businesses that may face problems caused by the Winslow Way reconstruction project.

Originally the city projected it would have $135,000 to allocate, and would set aside $35,000 for city tourism-related projects. The city decided to lower that number to $125,000 by taking a more conservative estimate at tax receipt revenue. Tax receipts run on a two-month delay.

The city absorbed the difference and will only allocate $22,000 for city-related funds.

LTAC Funding

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