The San Juan County Council May 13 approved 16 grants recommended by the Lodging Tax Advisory Committee. The total allocated was $409,000, which left a $6,000 balance. The grants are for the 2015 calendar year and will be distributed next year.
The grants approved were Performing Arts Centers on Orcas, Lopez and San Juan Islands, $90,000, each; Orcas Chamber Music festival, $2,700; KWIAHT, $1,500; Arts Council for studio tours on Orcas, Lopez and San Juan Island, $5,000; Cider & Mead Festival, Orcas Island, $1,000; Wednesday night Farmers Market, $3,500; Multi-Market promotion poster, $2,500; SJC Historical Museums, $67,500; Pavilion Roof for Island Rec, $6,000; Friday Harbor Film Festival, $5,500; Pioneer Festival, $1,500; Ag Guild/ARC $3,000; SJI Museum of Art $10,000; SJC Parks & Fair, $200,000; Birding Festival, $5,800; Orcas Shakespeare Festival, $3,500.
Many of the grant amounts were less than groups requested, but only the Youth Conservation Corps on Lopez, Orcas and San Juan Island were shut out with a zero recommendation of a $32,000 request. Councilman Jamie Stephens objected to the failure of the LTAC to recommend anything for the Conservation Corps; no reason was given for the advisory committee decision.
The LTAC facilities grants are about half of the lodging tax funds available for distribution by the county. The other half is used for tourism promotion; 85 percent for the San Juan Island Visitors Bureau and five percent for the Orcas, Lopez and San Juan chambers of commerce.
The detailed grant applications can be found at sanjuanco.com/LTAC/applicants.aspx. The membership of the LTAC is at http://sanjuanco.com/council/AdvisoryCommittees.aspx?committee=20.