Accommodation Tax Proceeds Fall

July 13, 2010

Investigative Reports

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The NerveCharleston County accommodation tax proceeds were divvied up at the County Council’s July 8 finance committee meeting and, reflecting ongoing economic difficulties and the county’s desire to retain a greater share of funds, the amount available for allocation to outside agencies for fiscal year 2011 was historically low.

At $162,500, it was less than half the level of a few years ago, though only marginally lower than that of FY 2010.

There were 31 applications but only 24 allocations and all successful applicants received substantially less than that requested.

The biggest recipients were Patriot’s Point Development Authority, $17,645; the South Carolina Aquarium, $17,468; and Spoleto Festival, $14,007.

Prior to last year, the allocation of Accommodation Tax proceeds often generated heated debate amongst County Council members.

In 2008, and to take the politics out of the decision making, the council asked the College of Charleston and the Charleston Area Convention and Visitors Bureau to devise a weighting process and to recommend allocations on the basis of assessed merit and benefits.

The finance committee did not discuss the allocations and unanimously approved the recommendations. Download pdf to see allocations.

There were questions about whether it wouldn’t have been better to give larger amounts to a smaller number of applicants? It was noted that the scoring dropped off sharply beyond the three top applicants; they registered 100 percent, 99 percent and 79 percent, respectively.

The fourth successful applicant, meanwhile, scored 59 percent, while No. 24 registered just 20 percent.

Warwick Jones is a resident of Charleston and has been involved with a number of area organizations, including the Charleston County Greenbelt Advisory Board and the Preservation Society of Charleston.