Town makes changes to 2 percent funds process

The Town of Coupeville voted Tuesday to make a few minor changes to the town’s allocation process for the 2 percent Lodging Tax Revenue grant awards.

In 2017, the town changed the allocation process to be more open, allowing any organization to apply for the funds rather than a pre-determined list of approved groups.

The most recent changes will only allow proposals from nonprofit organizations and give preference to activities that occur inside town limits.

The grant requests are evaluated using a scoring criteria, and the town voted to update the process so that a larger weight is given to “shoulder season” activities and projects that can show a direct economic benefit to the town, specifically overnight stays.

“Shoulder season” is from October to May.

Other objectives that applicants are scored on include projects that highlight Coupeville’s history, natural resources or traditions, projects that educate visitors about Coupeville and projects designed to attract off-island visitors. The town council used the scoring criteria to guide its decision but may make a final selection not based solely on the point system.

The tax is from all overnight accommodations, including bed and breakfasts, hotels, motels and inns and is collected by the state before being passed back to the town.

In 2017 and 2018, the town awarded roughly $20,000 each year, and this year will have $25,000 available, Coupeville Mayor Molly Hughes said.

“The 2 percent fund is a great program that allows each community to decide for themselves how best to use tourism funding,” Hughes said in an email. “We are glad to have the opportunity to financially support some of the non-profits doing educational, entertaining and economically enhancing events in our community.”

Applications must be turned into the clerk treasurer at Town Hall by the last business day in September. The scored applicants will be discussed at the first town council meeting in October, and the council will make its grant award decisions by the second meeting in October.

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