ML council OKs funds for tourism promotion

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MOSES LAKE — Per the recommendation of a committee, the Moses Lake City Council voted to direct thousands of dollars of funds for tourism promotion in 2018 during Tuesday night’s council meeting.

Washington allows cities and counties to charge a lodging tax to benefit tourism. The tax itself is placed on lodging charges for periods less than 30 consecutive days at hotels, motels, rooming houses, private campgrounds, RV parks and similar facilities.

Lodging taxes can be used for tourism marketing, marketing and operations of special events designed to attract tourists, operations and capital expenditures of tourism-related facilities owned or operated by a municipality or a public facilities district and operations of tourism-related facilities owned or operated by nonprofit organizations.

The total tax on lodging in Moses Lake is 4 percent, which includes 2 percent from sales tax and the additional 2 percent special excise tax. Moses Lake’s Lodging Tax Advisory Committee (LTAC) is a five-person committee that advises the council on how to use the funds that are generated through the tax. The committee met in November to consider applications for funding in 2018 and forwarded their recommendations to the council for consideration during Tuesday night’s council meeting.

Each of the recommendations came with a total amount of money requested and a total amount approved by the committee. The council approved the following requests for funding in 2018:

Moses Lake Spring Festival: Amount approved = $15,000.

Moses Lake Business Association’s fall 2018 downtown art and wine festival: Amount approved = $5,000.

Moses Lake Business Association’s February 2018 downtown art and wine festival = Amount approved = $0

Moses Lake Business Association’s downtown tree lighting: Amount approved = $2,000.

Central Basin Community Concert Association’s concert series: Amount approved = $5,000.

Columbia Basin Allied Arts’ theatre series: Amount approved = $15,000.

Seattle Outboard Association’s hydroplane national championship: Amount approved = $3,000.

Moses Lake BMX park redesign and rebuild of existing track: Amount approved = $1,000.

Mayor Karen Liebrecht and council members Daryl Jackson, Don Myers and Mike Riggs voted to approved the requests. Council members David Curnel and Mike Norman voted against approving the requests.

The Moses Lake Chamber of Commerce put in requests for a total of $209,000, but there was discussion among council members on how exactly the funds will be used. Per the recommendation of Liebrecht, the council agreed to approve the requests from the other entities and hold a special study session in January to analyze the requests from the chamber.

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