Although Historic City News readers will not know the amounts of funding, if any, that each will be awarded, the ACH Funding Panel heard 3-minute updates from 40 organizations who are vying for a share of millions of dollars collected each year in tourist development tax, for their arts, cultural and heritage facilities, enhancement programs and re-enactments, development of new programs as well as funding for ongoing programs.
The Panel, appointed by the St Johns County Board of Commissioners, previously evaluated and recommended funding levels for Category II funds to the Tourist Development Council — a volunteer board, also appointed by the Commission. After critical failures under supervision of the St Johns Cultural Council, the Council revoked that responsibility from the lower Panel; amid allegations of arbitrary, widely-varying assessments, favoritism, and lack of overall integrity in the process.
The Tourism and Cultural Events Director, Glenn L. Hastings, who claims a $106,915.23 annual salary for his services, plus benefits, directs the volunteer panels and manages the operation of paid county staffers who support the department, a contract to operate the largest recipient of bed tax money, the Visitors Convention Bureau, and a controversial six-figure contract with the privately-operated St Johns Cultural Council.
This year’s applicants, who made the April application deadline, began meeting with the new funding panel members, Wednesday. July 9 at 9:00 a.m. in the St. Johns County Auditorium. Panel members had the opportunity to ask questions before each application was scored. Each applicant was required to have a representative available to answer questions from the panel.
Applicants requested a total of $950,000 in funding for the 40 projects; however, Hastings said that it “is not likely” that they will each be fully funded at those levels. The Tourist Development Council will hear the scores at their meeting on July 21st, but they will not make the decision on who-will-get-what. Rather, they will use the scores to determine what they feel is appropriate funding, and then send those recommendations on to the five-member elected Board of County Commissioners.
The scores, organized from all categories from highest rated to lowest, follow:
COSA – 450TH COMMISSION- CELEBRATE 450! 95.8 COSAB – BEACH BLASTOFF 93.8 FL HERITAGE BOOK FESTIVAL 93.2 FLAGLER COLLEGE -FIRST AMERICA 92.2 FL LITERARY ARTS COALITION – OTHER WORDS 91.0 COSA – TAPESTRY 90.8 BRITISH NIGHTWATCH 90.8 SJ CHAMBER – PV AUTO SHOW 90.6 LIGHTNER MUSEUM 90.6 COSA – FIRST CITY THROUGH EYES OF THE MASTERS 90.4 SA LIGHTHOUSE AND MUSEUM 89.8 FIRST COAST OPERA – CRYSTAL CONCERT 89.4 ROMANZA – CELTIC FESTIVAL 89.0 SA FILM FESTIVAL 88.6 COSA – CONCERTS IN THE PLAZA 88.6 SA ART ASSOCIAITON – A&C FESTIVAL 88.6 HISTORIC FLORIDA MILITIA – SCHOOL OF THE 16TH CENTURY 88.4 EMMA – ZUCKERMAN/MOSCOW 88.2 SA MARITIME HERITAGE FESTIVAL 88.2 EMMA – FIESTA 450TH 87.8 HISTORIC FLORIDA MILITIA – CHANGING OF THE GUARD 87.0 LIMELIGHT THEATRE 87.0 LIMELIGHT THEATRE – 450 THEATRE CELEBRATION 86.6 SA BEACH – MUSIC BY THE SEA 86.6 EPIC – TASTE OF SA 86.4 SA HISTORIC INNS – B&B TOUR 86.0 HOLY TRINITY -GREEK FESTIVAL 85.8 CULTURAL CENTER PV BEACH 85.2 ROMANZA – ST PATRICK PARADE 83.8 SA ART ASSOCIATION – NATURE AND WILDLIFE 83.6 ROMANZA – 4TH ANNUAL FESTIVALE 83.4 EASTER PARADE 82.2 MIDDLE PASSAGE/PORT MARKER 82.2 SA BEACH – BBQ & BLUES 80.0 FRIENDS OF SA AMPHITHEATER – CHILDREN’S ART FESATIVAL 80.0 SA MUSIC FESTIVAL 79.8 SA YACHT CLUB – HOLIDAY REGATTA 79.6 SEA -RAILS TO TRAILS FESTIVAL 76.6 FL CHAMBER MUSIC PROJECT 76.2 STAR – PASEO PASTEL 75.6