County amasses $350K for 2012 tourism facilities grants

A boost in lodging tax revenue means San Juan County will be able to match the amount it handed out last year in tourism facility grants and have a bit left over for reserve.

This past year, the county collected nearly 8 percent more in lodging revenue than it did in 2010. A total of $350,000 in grants is expected to be awarded this year from the county’s tourism facilities fund.

The Lodging Tax grant program is financed entirely by a room-rental tax collected by the county’s lodging providers. Proceeds are dedicated, by law, to promoting and enhancing tourism in San Juan County.

The bulk of the facilities fund has traditionally been awarded to theaters, museums and parks, leaving a relatively small amount available for new projects. However, the Lodging Tax Advisory Committee this year formally announced a desire to earmark a percentage of available funds to finance innovative projects or new events.

The committee will present its funding recommendations to the County Council for consideration and final approval early this summer.

The 2012 grants are one-year awards for projects or events that take place the following year. Only non-profit groups and government agencies are eligible to apply. Deadline for applications is Friday, April 6. You can find detailed information, award history and grant applications forms at the county website: