Town Council awards $95,000 in promotional funds to seven organizations

Some $95,000 in promotional funds was awarded to seven organizations Sept. 17 by the Friday Harbor Town Council. That amount is $30,000 less than last year, a reflection of the economic times.

The money comes from the 2 percent lodging tax collected within the town limits for tourism promotion. The town collects another 2 percent lodging tax for tourism-related facilities, such as public restrooms. The county has a similar lodging tax grant program.

The allocations were recommended by the town’s Lodging Tax Advisory Committee: San Juan Islands Visitors Bureau, $76,249; Chamber of Commerce, $9,464; Chamber of Commerce Visitors Center, $3,286; Whale Museum, $3,144; San Juan Historical Museum, $1,643; Artists Studio Tour, $643; Washington State University Cooperative Extension, $571.

Two funding requests were not granted: Island Hopper Transportation, which requested $18,000; and the Island Museum of Art, which requested $3,400 for park benches.

“I was really impressed with the applications we received,” LTAC member David Pass told the council. “They told me that the island has a lot to offer.”

The grants were approved 4-0; Councilwoman Liz Illg abstained because her business, Nonprofits Unlimited, has a contract with the Visitors Bureau. Councilwoman Anna Maria de Freitas voted “yes” but first disclosed that she is a member of the board of the Visitors Bureau.

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