Brooke Weber, the administrative assistant for the Jefferson County Historical Society, is one of the historical society employees that is paid through annual lodging tax allocations. (Cydney McFarland/Peninsula Daily News)

Brooke Weber, the administrative assistant for the Jefferson County Historical Society, is one of the historical society employees that is paid through annual lodging tax allocations. (Cydney McFarland/Peninsula Daily News)

Jefferson County awards $445,000 in lodging tax grants

PORT TOWNSEND — The Jefferson County commissioners approved allocations of lodging tax revenue, accepting the recommendations of the county lodging tax advisory committee which reviews the applications for funding.

Commissioners approved the allocations unanimously Monday.

The $445,000 of tax revenue was split among 12 agencies for 2017.

Tourism agencies received the most in funding.

The Jefferson County Historical Society ($64,076), Olympic Peninsula Gateway Visitor Center ($65,000), North Hood Canal Chamber of Commerce and Visitor Center ($53,800), Jefferson County Chamber of Commerce ($17,250), Forks Chamber of Commerce for visitor center ($29,535), Washington State University Farm Tour ($5,000), Quilcene Historical Museum ($15,985) and the county parks and recreation campgrounds ($28,140) all received the funding they requested in full.

“With this we’re trying to increase tourism so we’re kind of hedging our bets,” said County Commissioner David Sullivan. “We also really rely on the recommendations of the advisory committee since they put a lot of time in to reviewing these projects.”

Not all received the full amount requested.

Centrum, which asked for $25,000, will receive $20,000. The Tourism Coordinating Council, was allocated $135,000 instead of $144,000; Quilcene Fair and Parade got $3,500 instead of $10,000; and county Public Works for Olympic Discovery Trail will only see $7,714 instead of $25,000 requested.

“There were more requests than money this year so we really had to cut back on some of the requests,” Sullivan said.

Quilcene Brinnon Dollars for Scholars, which requested $8,000, and HiYu Audio of Quilcene, which requested $22,175 for a party truck, $32,000 for Fort Worden facilities and $15,106 for the Quilcene Museum, were denied their requests for funding for 2017.

“I expect they’ll go through the process again next year,” Sullivan said.

Just over $80,000 went toward the preservation of the county’s history, when amounts are combined for the Quilcene Museum and historical society. The amount given the historical society was more than $7,000 over the amount it received last year.

According to a news release from the county commissioners, the historical society and Quilcene Museum are considered “heritage tourism.”

“It’s customary for counties to preserve their history and this is one way we do it,” Sullivan said.

The historical society receives an allocation every year because it is written into the lodging tax regulations, according to Bill Tennent, executive director of the historical society.

The historical society used to be a department of the county but, according to Tennent, it receives a steadier revenue stream by opting to be funded with lodging tax receipts.

Most of the money allocated to the historical society will pay the employee salaries. An additional $5,000 will go toward replacing the lights in the Jefferson County Museum of Art &History with LED lights.

“It’s much better for the environment and for the artifacts,” Tennent said. “Now we won’t have to worry about putting things on display.”

The county put aside $9,700 on the recommendation of the Lodging Tax Advisory Committee in a contingency fund and for administrative needs.

________

Jefferson County Editor/Reporter Cydney McFarland can be reached at 360-385-2335, ext. 55052, or at cmcfarland@peninsuladailynews.com.

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