City Council unified on hospitality grants

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By Jesef Williams

For the first time in a long while, Lancaster City Council did not have lengthy debate about the awarding of grants from the city’s hospitality tax fund.
Council voted unanimously Tuesday night to approve funding for the second quarter of 2010-11 to the Lancaster Children’s Council and the Lancaster Bruins Booster Club.
The Children’s Council applied for and was awarded $20,000 for its Prevention of Youth Substance Abuse project.
The booster club applied for and was awarded $5,000 to make repairs to the Roddey Drive baseball facilities.
In all, seven groups applied for grants for this funding cycle.
Teresa Meeks, the city’s support services director, said the hospitality tax grant advisory committee unanimously agreed not to approve the following requests:
• Blessed to Care, $9,000 for the Model Me Development Program
• United Enterprise of SC Inc., $25,000 for United Gospel Team
• New Arts Moment, $25,000 for the New Arts Movement Festival
• Lancaster Alumni Chapter of S.C. State University, $8,850 for a Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. Parade
• S.C. Chapter of Kleine-Levin Syndrome, $2,250 for the Running for Ryan event
The city of Lancaster awards up to $40,000 in hospitality tax grant funds per quarter.
Nearly two years ago, council adopted a new process in which council would simply vote yes or no on the hospitality tax advisory committee’s recommendations, versus going back and adjusting award amounts.
The aim was to take the politics out of the process.
But when council was set to vote on grant awards, some council members questioned the advisory committee’s recommendations and a few times tried to change the award amounts.
Tuesday was the first time that didn’t happen since the new guildances were adopted.

Contact reporter Jesef Williams at jwilliams@thelancasternews.com or (803) 283-1152