If Georgetown City Council follows the recommendations from the Accommodations Tax Committee, the majority of this year’s A-Tax funds will go to Harbor Historic Association (HHA) which operates the S.C. Maritime Museum on Front Street.
At a bi-annual meeting held Wednesday, the A-Tax Committee agreed the HHA should receive $40,310 for various expenditures.
Nearly half of that money — $20,000 — will be used to help the organization purchase the building it is currently renting on Front Street for the museum.
Sally Swineford, who spoke on behalf of the HHA on this request, said $478,000 is needed to purchase the building at 729 Front Street.
She said they received $20,000 from the county last year and will request an additional $50,000 this year.
Because A-Tax funds are to be used only for things that attract tourists, committee member Steele Bremner said she does not feel a building is the proper use of the money.
“To me putting money into a building is stagnant money,” Bremner said.
Swineford said she feels it is OK to use A-Taxes for that purpose because the Maritime Museum “enhances cultural tourism” in Georgetown County.
City accountant Susan Prescott said she checked with S.C. Department of Tourism and was told the money could be spent on the building.
The panel also approved $10,310 for HHA promotion and advertising and $10,000 for the purchase of an inflatable boat. They requested $14,200.
The boat, according to HHA member Susan Sanders, will be used to welcome boaters who visit the area.
The plan is to use the boat to deliver welcome packets to boaters in the harbor as well as those docking overnight at the marinas.
Sanders said she hopes the program will begin in March.
Other organizations that have been recommended for funding are:
• The Kaminski House Museum which is asking for $2,100 to help fund the Made in the Shade Concert Series to be held later this year.
Because it is the 40th anniversary of the Kaminski House, this year’s concerts are expected to be bigger than in the past.
Director Cindy Kinard said the series begins in May with a Saxophone quintet from Coastal Carolina University.
• The Georgetown County Historical Society is expected to receive $1,650 to promote the Winyah Bay Heritage Festival.
• The Georgetown County Museum is expected to receive $9,500 for a promotional campaign.
• The Georgetown Performing Arts Foundation is expected to receive $9,000. The majority — $6,000 — is designated for promotional advertising while $3,000 will be used for a three week dance series to take place this summer.
One organization that requested funds but was denied was Waccamaw Regional Transportation Authority. They had requested $23,631 for the Coast RTA bus service.
Committee members said they do not think that is the proper use of A-Tax money. However, they are recommending city council consider providing some money from the general fund.
Council will consider the recommendations during the upcoming 2013-14 budget process.
By Scott Harper
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