SIDNEY – The Sidney Lodging Tax Committee met to review possible amendments to the lodging tax distribution policy at a meeting on Dec. 5.
The lodging tax distribution policy was created in 2006 to formalize the requirements for organizations to receive funds and the process for allocating funds. The last time the policy was amended was in 2016 to address contingency funds that were available but not encumbered.
Mayor Mardie Milligan requested the committee hold a meeting this year to evaluate the eligibility and evaluation criteria in the policy. The staff presented changes to these sections to the committee members.
The proposed eligibility criteria changes are as follows:
• Specify that only projects or activities that are carried out within the municipal limits will be eligible
• Change the satisfaction of the objectives listed in the section from one to two
• Change “contribute to the cultural well-being of the community” to “contribute to the cultural or recreational enrichment of the community while not duplicating or counteracting other community interests.” Milligan suggested separating cultural enrichment and recreational enrichment into two criteria.
• Delete “seek to improve the quality of life for Sidney’s residents, including but not limited to its senior residents”
• Add “city of Sidney is represented on the board of the non-profit organization either by an appointed or elected official”
The proposed evaluation criterion change is to delete the line, “to not duplicate or counteract other community interests.” In the “other factors” section, the wording changed from “seeks” to “leverages” in the line, “seeks multiple sources of funding.” In the “prohibitions” section, a line was added that says, “grant funds shall not support fundraising activities/events of the non-profit organization.” The committee discussed removing the latter addition as some of the non-profits that receive regular funding from the lodging tax would become ineligible.
The committee decided to table approval of the staff-recommended changes until the discussed changes from the meeting are drafted and presented. Another meeting is set for Jan. 9, 2023, at 5:30 p.m. to continue the discussion.