The Flagler County Commission on Monday approved 24 grants totaling $76,000 for mostly local organizations’ cultural and sports events, festivals and professional meetings, money to be drawn from the county’s tourist tax revenue.
tourist development council
The Sheriff’s Office requested that the criminal investigation of Flagler Tourism Director Matt Dunn be conducted by the Florida Department of Law Enforcement. Amy Lukasik, the tourism bureau’s marketing director, is taking over Dunn’s duties for now.
The grants were part of the annual county tourism bureau’s funding round and are designed to enhance tourism and the visitor count in the county.
The proposal never went before the Tourist Development Council. The county administrator says the $284,000 cost will actually be less than the existing contract.
The Flagler County Tax Collector, not the state Department of Revenue, will be collecting the 5 percent tax on short term rentals starting in July–a tax hundreds of property owners are evading currently.
A good showing in December aside, when year-over-year tourism tax receipts jumped 18 percent, Flagler County has done less well, and not necessarily because of Hurricane Matthew.
County Commissioner Donald O’Brien’s proposal to shift more money toward beach restoration prevailed today in a joint meeting of the County Commission and the county’s tourism board, and the county administrator pledged to allocate $2 million to Flagler Beach’s needs.
Paying for critical repairs to Flagler County’s beaches is hostages to a tourism budget’s scandalous and unaccountable promotions spending, which the county administration wants to increase despite the emergency.
County Commissioner Donald O’Brien today was willing to raise the county’s tourism tax to 5 percent, but to further increase revenue for beach restoration, and, for a year, lower revenue for promotions.
The tourist sales surtax tax is applied to hotels, motels and short-term rentals, and would increase beach-restoration revenue to $2.25 million over the next three years.