Committee recommends funding distribution for lodging tax

SIDNEY — The Sidney Lodging Tax Committee will recommend for Sidney City Council to approve some of the 2022 lodging tax budget requests.

The purpose of the Oct. 15 meeting was to consider, according to the provisions outlined in the Lodging Tax Distribution Policy, grant-eligible activity applications that were received for the 2022 annual budget.

For next year’s budget, the total funding available is projected to be $243,573, with with $12,786.00 carried over from 2021 for a total of $256,359, but $291,500 in funding requests was received.

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.

Among the larger requests the committee is recommending Sidney City Council to approve include: Sidney Shelby Economic Partnership, $76,000; Sidney Alive, $65,000; Senior Center of Shelby County, $38,000; and Sidney Alive/Raise the Roof Music City Festival, $25,000. Also automatically included in the budget, according to state law, is the 25% of all lodging taxes taken in goes to the Sidney Convention and Visitors Bureau for a total of $90,212.

Also approved were the full requests of Sidney Shelby County Workforce Partnership, $12,500; Sidney Alive Paddles, Pedals & Pints event, $12,500; Gateway Arts Council, $10,000; Sidney Civic Band Association for $3,000 and for the Sidney Waterpark’s free swimming lessons for $3,500; city of Sidney Zenas King Bridge Marker, $1,000; and the Shelby County Historical Society, $5,000.

After some discussion, committee members decided not fund two requests for 2022, including the city of Sidney Big Four Passenger Station, in the amount of $5,000, and Sidney’s Shultz’s Battery Park sculpture grouping, in the amount of $35,000.

Committee members discussed each of the funding requests and noted the Big Four Passenger Station could possibly result in a much larger project that would need to be reviewed by City Council as part of the five-year plan and was determined to not be funded at this time.

Committee members also discussed Shultz’s Battery Park and decided that because they have only seen a “model” of the statues at this time, they would deny funding until actual sculptures were viewed.

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