Charleston County Moves to Dish Out Extra A-Tax Money

March 30, 2012

Inside Insight

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Presentations were recently made by the Charleston Museum, the Gibbes Museum and the Medal of Honor Museum for allocations from accommodation tax funding, and all three were rewarded at the March 22 Charleston County Council meeting.

The starting point was higher-than-estimated accommodation tax-derived funds available this year.

The increase amounts to $500,000 and will lift the projected total to more than $10.5 million. The original projected amount, $10 million, has already been committed.

Some council members wanted to give out most of the increase, but staff reminded them that statutory requirements or commitments – essentially to municipalities, county funds and the Charleston Area Convention and Visitors Bureau – would take $170,000 of this amount.

As directed, staff worked on a way of splitting the remaining $330,000 among the three applicants that had made presentations, and also the Convention and Visitors Bureau, which was also seeking higher funding.

The recommendations were:

  • Convention and Visitors Bureau – A grant of $189,000 for fiscal year 2012. Its request was for a 15 percent boost in its share of accommodation tax revenues;
  • Gibbes Museum – A grant of $25,000 for fiscal year 2012, but a commitment of $25,000 in fiscal year 2103 and fiscal year 2014, and $225,000 in 2015. Its request was for $300,000 over five years;
  • Charleston Museum – A grant of $90,000 in fiscal year 2012, and a commitment of $90,000 in fiscal year 2013. Its request was for $362,000; and
  • Medal of Honor Museum – A grant of $26,000 in 2012, which was the amount requested.

Considering its magnitude, it was interesting there was no discussion of the Convention and Visitors Bureau request. The increase was sought by the CVB to boost its advertising budget.

Councilman Henry Darby sought $100,000 for the Medal of Honor Museum. He noted the museum had asked for only a portion of the amount that it needed and the extra funds would enable it to achieve its mission.

Councilman Dickie Schweers took issue and pondered why the County Council would give an entity more than it asked for.