Organizations intending to use tourist advancement grant dollars to money special events will face changes in the procedurewhile doing so in the next fiscal year.At a Flagler County Tourist Advancement Council meeting Wednesday, council members were briefed on the proposed modifications by Matt Dunn, executive director of the Flagler County Traveler Development Office.Pending final approval by the Flagler County Commission, funding requests for overnight stay or lifestyle grants would be evaluated when a year in July instead of on a monthly basis. If funds are still readily available after the July conference, applications would be accepted on a quarterly basis.Tourist council member Kurt Allen said reviewing funding applications once a year might put some companies at a disadvantage.I think were asking a lot from a small occasion to be prepared 15 months in advance, he said.County Administrator Craig Coffey stated the move to a yearly evaluation of grant requests is an effort to expand
the scope of event funding.This will put them all on an equal opportunity, he said.The proposition likewise would deal with operational expense grants granted to local groups, including museums, in favor of a memorandum of understanding system and move the financing of those grants from the capital tasks fund to the promotional fund.The tourist council awards grants under 3 various funds — for capital projects, special events and promos and beach remediation. Dunn stated the new policy would likewise need those groups looking for functional grants to provide area for advertising products from the tourism office.Among the other proposed modifications is a reworking of the overnight stays grant procedure. Under the existing system, groups seeking funds are granted cash based upon the number of validated room nights generated by an event. The new system would get rid of grants for events with less than 100 confirmed room nights and decrease the optimum award amount for peak season occasions — from August through January — from$10,000 to $8,000. Were attemptingattempting to raise the bar, push the envelope, Dunn stated. I think we feel we are givinghanding out far too many dollars for the return.The final big change would decrease the amount readily available for so-called quality of life occasions from $1,500 to$1,000 and put a three-year cap on events eligible to receive tourist development funding.Were funding
occasions that are effectiveachieve success, he said. Its time for some new projects to come forward.Kim Carney, a Flagler Beach city commissioner and member of the Rotary Club of Flagler Beach, said shes concerned about the proposed changes.This is not reasonableunfair to the little guy, she stated. Asking us to come prior to you on one month of the year does not make sense.Allen said while the
Traveler Advancement Council is not here to not help the community, the supreme purpose of tourist development grants
is to promote tourism.Tourist development dollars need to support tourism marketing to bring more individuals to the county, he said.