As a result of the COVID-19 pandemic, the Jefferson Museum of Art & History has been closed since March and will remain closed until Jefferson County enters Phase 3 of the state’s Safe Start plan. The Jefferson County Historical Society, which runs the museum, receives two grants from the county’s Hotel-Motel Lodging Tax fund each year, one to staff and advertise the museum and the other to staff the Olympic Peninsula Gateway Visitor Center. (Zach Jablonski/Peninsula Daily News)

As a result of the COVID-19 pandemic, the Jefferson Museum of Art & History has been closed since March and will remain closed until Jefferson County enters Phase 3 of the state’s Safe Start plan. The Jefferson County Historical Society, which runs the museum, receives two grants from the county’s Hotel-Motel Lodging Tax fund each year, one to staff and advertise the museum and the other to staff the Olympic Peninsula Gateway Visitor Center. (Zach Jablonski/Peninsula Daily News)

Tourism organizations voluntarily reduce funding

Lodging tax grants may help shortfalls expected next year

PORT TOWNSEND — A handful of tourism-centered organizations have voluntarily agreed to reduce the amount of grant funding received by a hotel/motel lodging tax to prepare for significant shortfalls in 2021.

The Board of Jefferson County Commissioners approved in their consent agenda Monday the reduction in funding for tourism-oriented organizations such as the Jefferson County Historical Society, the Forks Chamber of Commerce, the Jefferson County Parks & Recreation division and the Quilcene Historical Museum.

The funds reduced this year are earmarked to possibly be redistributed back to the organizations in 2021, as the organizations and county prepare for an even larger reduction in lodging tax funds due to decreases in tourism and festivals as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic, officials said.

The Forks Chamber of Commerce was initially granted $49,470 in for 2020, but a reduction of $4,470 was about equal to the money the chamber saved due to not staffing its office at the beginning of the pandemic, said Lissy Andros, Forks Chamber executive director. Instead, the chamber will receive $45,000.

“We want to be as frugal as possible this year, so we have something to work with next year,” Andros said. “Basically, because we were closed, we weren’t spending any money on staffing.”

The Jefferson County Historical Society was initially granted $72,500 to staff and operate the Olympic Peninsula Gateway Visitor Center, and that fund has been reduced to by $10,465 to $62,035, board documents said.

The historical society relies on the grant funding to cover staff funding and advertising. However, the society covered some of the costs due to a Paycheck Protection Program loan, said Shelley Leavens, executive director.

“The unknown of 2021 and that fund is, it’s unfortunate that we don’t have any historical data to look at, there’s no knowing how the loss of a summer tourism … how that will affect the fund,” Leavens said. “I don’t think anyone knows.”

The Jefferson County Parks & Recreation division was initially granted $44,159 but volunteered a refund to the county of $9,023 and will keep $35,136 to continue operation of county campgrounds, board documents said.

The Quilcene Historical Museum was initially granted $44,430 but volunteered to a reduction of $11,215 and will use the remaining $33,215 to promote tourism in the county, board documents said.

________

Jefferson County reporter Zach Jablonski can be reached by email at zjablonski@peninsuladailynews.com or by phone at 360-385-2335, ext. 5.

More in News

Smoke vents from the rear car deck doors as firefighters battle a vehicle fire aboard the ferry MV Coho upon its afternoon arrival in Port Angeles on Thursday. (Keith Thorpe/Peninsula Daily News)
Crews evaluated after RV fire on Coho ferry

Combined training helped during incident, deputy chief says

Staff favors denial for rezone

Proposal would pave way for Dollar General Plus

Clallam Transit considering proposal for Narcan at Gateway center

Board members want time for more discussion before next meeting

Turns restricted during roundabout construction

Drivers at the intersection of state highways 104 and 19… Continue reading

Bridge closures canceled for May 17, May 18

Hood Canal bridge closures originally scheduled for this weekend have… Continue reading

Roxanne Pfiefer-Fisher, a volunteer with a team from Walmart, sorts through sections of what will become a slide during Wednesday’s opening day of a community rebuild of the Dream Playground at Erickson Playfield in Port Angeles. (Keith Thorpe/Peninsula Daily News)
Volunteers flock to Dream Playground to start build

Group effort reminds organizers of efforts in 2021, 2002

Lawsuit over pool ban is planned

Lawyers say they’re suing city of Port Townsend, YMCA

Peninsula Behavioral Health adds 3 programs

Services help those experiencing psychosis, provide housing

Michael Anderson of Gibsons, British Columbia tries his hand at flying a kite in the gusty winds of Point Hudson on Monday afternoon. Anderson was on the last leg of an RV vacation around the Olympic Peninsula with his wife and dog and planned on spending the next two nights at the Point Hudson Marina RV Park before they head home. (Steve Mullensky/for Peninsula Daily News)
Let’s go fly a kite

Michael Anderson of Gibsons, British Columbia tries his hand at flying a… Continue reading

Residents against store proposal

Hearing examiner meeting set Thursday

Jefferson County wants to increase curbside service for trash

Congestion at transfer station increasing costs, manager says

Port of PA to replace John Wayne Marina ramp

Boat launch will include components from Port of Friday Harbor