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Town awards $110K in LTAC funds; $800K in reserves

Friday Harbor Town Council awarded six grants totalling $110,000 for tourism promotion during its Thursday, October 20, 2011 meeting. The council followed the recommendation of the Lodging Tax Advisory Committee (LTAC). The committee members include lodging facility owners and managers/owners of facilities which receive funds.

The funds, for the 2012 grant cycle, are from the second 2 percent lodging sales tax. The town estimated the total for the 2012 cycle would be $110,000 which is the amount the LTAC used. When the meeting to decide how to distribute the funds took place, the actual amount which was higher was known.

A customer of a lodging facility pays an additonal 4 percent sales tax authorized by the Town Council. (The same is done in the county.)

The first 2 percent, by council decision, has been set aside for restroom construction and maintenance. That fund now totals more than $600,000 according to Huschebeck. The second 2 percent is used for promotion. The reserve from that 2 percent is approximately $140,000.

LTAC's recommendation was presented to the council by Council member Steve Huschebeck who is on the committee.

Mayor Carrie Lacher asked if the council could change the allocations. The answer was yes, but Huschebeck suggested it would be better to go through LTAC first.

The council approved the funding as presented. No motion was made to consider additional awards at this time.

The six awardees are:

  • San Juan Visitors Bureau: Received $87,217. Requested $85,000 for operations, marketing and promotion as the designated marketing organization.
  • San Juan Island Chamber of Commerce: Received $16,792. Requested $30,000 for operation of the Visitor Information Center; and $6,500 for marketing and promotion of three annual events.
  • San Juan Historical Museum: Received $1,189. Requested $1,1985 for marketing and promotion of the museum and and targeted advertising using online and print brochures.
  • The Whale Museum: Received $1,189. Requested $11,340 for marketing and promotion of the Whale Museum's activities and "Free Vacation Pass to the Whale Museum".
  • Skagit Valley College: Received $576. Requested $950 for marketing and promotion of an educational travel program and trade show called the Road Scholar Program.
  • San Juan Art Studio Tour: Received $1,126. Requested $2000 for promotion of annual event.

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