Summerville state accommodations tax committee looks at more funding requests | News

Summerville state accommodations tax committee members met Tuesday for the third time this summer to dole out $17,000 to new applicants.

Summerville Town Council still needs to approve the funding, but committee members are recommending $6,000 for the Dorchester Children’s Center, $5,000 for Summerville Masonic Lodge and $6,000 for the Summerville Evening Rotary – all of which applied following a new application process the committee opened earlier this summer.

The committee previously recommended $224,929.96 to distribute to the original eight applicants – which would fully fund each organization’s request. Committee members decided to open up the application process for more organizations back in June, with plans to meet again later this summer to consider the new applicants.

Committee Chairman Robert Pratt said they had about $22,500 of leftover funds from the previous distribution. There was some confusion about whether there was carry-over funding from the previous year to dole out, which town staff reportedly looked into. Pratt said his understanding was the committee decided it would be appropriate to request and recommend funding for up to $22,500.

State accommodations tax revenues must be spent on tourism-related expenditures.

In this new application process, Dorchester Children’s Center requested $10,000 to be geared toward its upcoming 15th annual Scrumptious Summerville Kitchen Tour and Pinwheel Gala. The application showed an estimated 1,200 in attendance, of which about 200 are from out of town.

Kay Phillips, executive director of the center, said it is “an amazing event” that reels in visitors from Beaufort, Savannah and Columbia.

Committee member Dowm Hawley, owner of Perkins Restaurant and Bakery, said she loved the idea but thought $10,000 was “a big ask” and suggested a lesser amount. Phillips said the cost of promoting is expensive but if they received a lesser amount they would “do with it what we can do with it.” The committee later proceeded to recommend $6,000 for the organization.

The Summerville Masonic Lodge requested $5,000 for its Smoke at the Lodge barbecue competition, held during the weekend of the Flowertown Festival.

The Summerville Evening Rotary requested $6,000 for its Oktoberfest event. The committee also spoke with representatives from both organizations and recommended fulfilling both applicants’ request.

At their July council meeting, council members voted to approve the state accommodation tax recommendations for seven of the eight original applicants – but would “investigate” the amount decided for the Community Resource Center. At that time Councilman Bob Jackson said that money could be reinstated later, possibly at a lesser amount; Mayor Wiley Johnson said the decision went back to fully vetting the applicants but said there would be a chance to look at that request again.

The seven approved applicants were the Berkeley County Museum, the Summerville Community Orchestra, the Summerville Dorchester Museum, Summerville DREAM, the Summerville Family YMCA, the Summerville Italian Feast and the Flowertown Players.

Town Council has a finance committee meeting Sept. 11 and a town council meeting Sept. 14.

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