City Council approves Accommodation Tax Funds

Elyssa Haven for The Newberry Observer

NEWBERRY — Newberry City Council approved Tuesday a recommendation made by the City of Newberry Accommodations Tax Advisory Committee (ATAC) for disbursement of funds.

City Manager Matt DeWitt said that each year around February, the City of Newberry advertises in various platforms that their application process is open and that they will be accepting applications for funding from non-profit community organizations engaged in tourism related activities befitting the City of Newberry.

Each applicant, DeWitt said must prove that they meet the requirements of eligibility and come before the accommodations tax committee to present their requests.

Six entities submitted requests to the committee this year for tourism related funding. While requests totaled $96,000, the actual available funding DeWitt said totals $70,284.37. This number is $15,909.33 more than last year’s allotted funding which totaled $54,375.04.

Based on available funding, DeWitt said every applicant was funded at 72% of their total requested amount.

Money for the requests is generated from hospitality and accommodations taxes such as through hotel stays and dining within the city limits of Newberry. This marks an uptick in hospitality over the last year, which means more people are eating out and staying overnight in Newberry, meaning the economy is continuing to improve, DeWitt said.

“That money is then turned around and given back to the city to divide out among eligible non-profits that look to promote tourism related activities outside of the 29108 zip code,” DeWitt said.

The funds were distributed to the six entities as follows: Newberry Parks, Recreation and Tourism ($14,594.06); Newberry Community Players ($4,874.06); Newberry Oktoberfest ($10,994.06); Newberry Downtown Development Association ($10,634.06); Newberry YMCA ($7,394.06); and the Newberry Opera House ($21,794.06).

After funds were dispersed, DeWitt said they were left with a sum of $1,164.36 which was then divided equally among each of the applicants’ requests to total $194.06 per applicant.

DeWitt said now that funding has been approved by council, each of the applicants will be contacted and money will be dispersed. Projects that were presented must be completed within one year.

Elyssa Haven for The Newberry Observer