County gives $60,000 in tourism grants
Tourism is a priority in Carbon County.
That's why county officials created the tourism grant fund after they implemented the 3 percent hotel tax in February 2007.
During the county commissioners' meeting on Thursday, the board approved the release of funds under a memorandum of understanding between Carbon County and the Pocono Mountain Visitors Bureau that supports the grant initiatives in Carbon County.
The memorandum authorizes the release of $60,000 from the Hotel Room Excise Tax fund for the county's tourism grant.
A total of 19 nonprofit organization projects will benefit from the ongoing grant during this round of funding. The county distributes the grant multiple times a year.
This grant round's recipients are:
• Carbon Chamber and Economic Development: $34,850 for marketing and promotion of the county.
• Carbon County Lion/Lioness Fair Association: $2,200 for the Carbon County Fair.
• Jim Thorpe Chamber of Commerce: $4,500 for the 2014 Fall Foliage Festival and the 2014 Visitors Guide.
• Lake Harmony Volunteer Fire Company: $4,250 for the 2015 Pennsylvania State Firemen's Convention and Parade.
• Lehighton Downtown Initiative: $2,500 for the 16th annual Bike Night.
• Lehighton Franklin Lions Club: $2,000 for the 2014 Festival of Lights.
• Mauch Chunk Museum and Cultural Center: $500 for Kemmerer Memorial Park, Kemmerer Carriage House Museum and Library.
• Mauch Chunk Rod and Gun Club/Five Mile High Stocking Club: $250 for Lehigh River trout stocking.
• Old Jail Museum: $600 for brochures/distribution/publicity via print and media.
• Palmerton Concourse Club: $100 for an art show.
• St. Patrick's Day Parade Committee: $2,000 for the annual St. Patrick's Day Parade.
• Summit Hill Heritage Center: $100 for wedding/rental marketing.
• Summit Hill Historical Society: $2,500 for the Ludlow Park project.
• Bach and Handel Chorale Inc.: $250 for online marketing.
• Ukrainian Homestead of ODWU: $300 for the Ukrainian Festival.
• Weatherly Hill Area Community Museum: $100 for Weatherly Area Museum signage.
• Weatherly Hill Climb Association: $1,500 for the annual Weatherly Hill Climb.
• Weissport Recreation Committee: $500 for the Weissport Redneck Festival.
• Wildlife Information Center Inc.: $1,000 for the trail map and promotional brochures.
To date, Carbon County has distributed approximately $600,000 to nonprofit organizations to help promote tourism.
The county receives a total of 50 percent of the hotel tax. Of the 50 percent, the county receives 20 percent, which it uses for improvements to Mauch Chunk Lake Park; 28 percent is put into the grant fund; and 2 percent goes toward administration fees.
The remaining 50 percent goes to the Pocono Mountain Visitors Bureau.
The Carbon County Hotel Excise Tax, which includes a 3 percent tax on room rentals in hotels, motels, bed and breakfasts, and resorts in the county, was signed by the commissioners in 2007.
The tax had been under negotiation since 2004, when commissioners voted down Pocono Mountain Visitors Bureau's original proposal of a 20 percent revenue return on the money the tax would generate. They eventually negotiated a 50 percent revenue return to the county.
To apply for a grant, visit carboncountypa.org/pages/HotelTaxGrant1.