Committee recommends funding distribution

By Sheryl Roadcap -

SIDNEY — The Sidney Lodging Tax Committee will recommend that Sidney City Council approve all 2019 lodging tax budget requests. The committee turned down an additional 2018 request from Raise the Roof for the Arts.

The purpose of Wednesday’s meeting was to consider, according to the provisions outlined in the Lodging Tax Distribution Policy, grant-eligible activity applications that were received for the 2019 annual budget and consider an additional fund request from Raise the Roof For the Arts for $10,000.

To quality for the lodging tax grant money, projects or activities carried out by the city or other non-profit organizations must meet at least one of the following:

• Encourage economic development in the city of Sidney;

• Contribute to the cultural well-being of the community;

• Seek to improve the quality of life for Sidney residents;

• Encourage patronage of Sidney hotels, restaurants and other businesses.

The new 2018 request from Raise the Roof for the Arts, for $10,000, was to help produce a dueling pianos international concert fundraiser inside the Historic Sidney Theatre on Oct. 19. The committee denied the request to help with the event, of which Raise the Roof is charging $25 per ticket. Committee members felt that because the fundraiser is not a free concert for the public and has sponsors, it is a different type of event than the back stage block party concerts they’ve helped with in the past. However, committee members decided if Raise the Roof for the Arts can prove they are in the negative after the dueling pianos concert, they would be willing to assist with funds up to $3,000.

When discussing the 2019 lodging tax budget requests, some discussion ensued about Sidney Alive’s request for $60,000, which is an increase of $10,000 from 2017. Last year they denied the additional funds request, but after some conversation about the organization’s purpose to help revitalize the downtown, which is a goal of City Council, the committee agreed to approve the requested $60,00o.

Also, the committee also agreed to approve the bicentennial celebration request for $10,000 as long as the city receives assurance the money is spent on events held in Sidney.

Some of the larger requests the committee is recommending council to approve include Sidney Shelby Economic Partnership, $66,000; Sidney Alive, $60,000; Senior Center of Shelby County, $38,000; Sidney’s Shultz’s Battery Park sculpture grouping, $30,000; Shelby County Historical Society, $20,600; and the vacant property inspector position. Also automatically included in the budget, according to state law, is the 25 percent of all lodging taxes taken in goes to the Sidney Convention and Visitors Bureau for a total of $99,485.

City Council will meet soon to further discuss the committee’s recommendation for lodge tax funds.

By Sheryl Roadcap

Reach the writer at 937-538-4823.

Reach the writer at 937-538-4823.