Friday, October 18, 2013
Georgetown City Council on Tuesday approved more than $54,000 worth of Accommodations Tax fund requests from 10 organizations.
The city’s A-Tax Committee met last week and was presented with more than $189,000 worth of requests which they cut to the $54,000 list that was presented to council.
Most of the requests passed without any discussion from council. The two exceptions were a request for $5,000 from the Georgetown Bulldog Booster Club and $3,000 the Georgetown Business Association was seeking.
Councilmen Brendon Barber, who works in the school district and is a former Georgetown High basketball coach, was concerned about the Booster Club request.
That money, the organization says, will be used to advertise the 24th annual International Paper Baseball Classic in March and to fund a free shuttle service from local hotels to Mike Johnson Park, where the tournament takes place.
“We have to be fair to all teams, girls and boys. This money would all go to the baseball team. This would not be fair to the girls and the other sports teams. I don’t feel the parents would appreciate that,” Barber said.
Barber said when he was a coach he had to hold special events to raise money for equipment and other expenses.
City Finance Director Debra Bivens explained A-Tax funds can only be used for advertising and other tourist-related services and not equipment.
She said the IP Classic brings a lot of visitors to Georgetown who spend a lot of money. She also said the city has given the Booster Club A-Tax funds for the tournament in the past.
Council member Jeanette Ard said the other sports organizations need to be informed about the process for applying to A-Tax funds but, the request from the Booster Club needed to be granted since they went through the proper channels. The GBA was asking for $3,000 to redesign the organization’s website.
They intend to keep the domain name www.seaportgeorgetown.com and expand access to mobile devices, according to information from the A-Tax Committee.
Funds will be used for design, set up, hosting fees and monthly maintenance of the site. GBA President Al Joseph said the organization will own the domain.
“The site will primarily be a marketing and advertising tool, we will list shops, restaurants, attractions and historical sites. There will be one page for membership and information about the GBA, the same as there is now. The vast majority of the site will be dedicated to the City of Georgetown and its features and attractions. We look at the website as a marketing tool for the city,” Joseph said.
Councilman Rudolph Bradley asked why the GBA was receiving funds when the Georgetown County Chamber of Commerce was also being allocated $5,700. He said he did not feel both needed to be given money to promote the city.
“What will the GBA do different from the Chamber? Remember, when the GBA had the opportunity to advertise Georgetown, they backed out,” Bradley said.
In the end, the vote to approve the A-Tax fund requests passed unanimously.
The requests approved are:
• Susan Doyle/Atlantis Design and Photography: $5,821 for the website www.historicgeorgetownsc.com.
• Friends of the Kaminski House: $3,000 to develop a tourism website.
• Georgetown Bridge 2 Bridge Half Marathon Committee: $5,000 to advertise the 2014 event.
• Georgetown County Historical Society: $7,000 for advertising the 2014 Winyah Bay Heritage Festival and for fees charged by S.C. Duck Dogs, S.C. Duck Calling and Birds of Prey.
• Georgetown County Museum: $4,300 for advertising and equipment for the new Broad Street facility.
• Harbor Historical Association: $3,315 for exhibits in the Maritime Museum and $5,685 for promotion of the 2014 Wooden Boat Show.
• Swamp Fox Players: $1,600 for advertising.
• Winyah Auditorium: $5,000 for the upcoming season of events.