Funding Panel lowers qualifying score

40-eric-dotenEric Doten, chairman of the Arts, Culture, and Heritage Funding Panel, announced to Historic City News that four more applicants will be recommended for funding from the local option tourist development tax when the Tourist Development Council holds its re-scheduled business meeting on Monday, August 26, 2013.

Dissatisfaction with what some are calling a subjective process, allegedly rife with favoritism, led to recent complaints by some organizations who question the methods employed to distribute the millions of dollars annually in bed tax money, the choice of which organizations will receive funding, and which will not.

Historic City News published details of written complaints from the City of St Augustine Beach, the St Augustine Beach Civic Association, the St Augustine Art Association, Romanza and the Celtic Music and Heritage Festival, which were aired during the funding panel meeting on Monday, August 12, 2013.

Cut from the original list of applicants vying for a share of $500,000; four more non-profit arts, culture and heritage requests will receive funding panel recommendations — not because they were re-evaluated, but because the panel lowered the qualifying score.

Added to those events previously reported by Historic City News:

Chamber of Commerce ($8,328 for the Ponte Vedra Auto Show)
St Augustine Beach ($25,000 for the Beach Blastoff)
Limelight Theatre ($23,334 for four productions)
St Augustine Orchestra ($10,480 for its Celebration of African Music)

Before any grants are awarded, these recommendations, which have now cleared the private St Johns Cultural Council and the appointed Arts, Culture, and Heritage Funding Panel, must receive a determination from the appointed Tourist Development Council that providing money to the applicant will further the development, advancement, improvement, or promotion of tourism. Then, if approved next week, the recommendations must still be approved by the Board of County Commissioners; prompting many Historic City News readers to comment that the several levels of bureaucracy, below the Board of Commissioners, only serves to make the process overly cumbersome.

If you plan to attend, the meeting of the St Johns County Tourist Development Council will be held on Monday, August 26, 2013 at 1:30 p.m. in the County Auditorium at the St Johns County Administrative Palace located at 500 San Sebastian View in St Augustine. The meeting is open to the public and public comments may be made in accordance with the agenda.

Funding panel score cards, obtained by Historic City News from the Tourist Development Council Executive Director, Glenn Hastings, showed a wide variance in some panelists’ evaluations of the same applications. An audio recording of that meeting, when the scores were discussed, reveals irregularities in the scoring process; including changes up or down, to independently derived scores by panel members — after hearing comments from other members in discussion.

Achieving a perfect score: 100%

30 max – cultural development programming and presentation
30 max – marketing and advertising plan to attract visitors
25 max – program schedule relative to demand period
5 max – lodging and hospitality partnerships
10 max – demonstrated program management capability

Event

Requests

Adkins

Doten

Humphrey

Shockey

Wild

 Average

Concerts In The Plaza

$10,000

100

85

80

100

92

            91.4

Auld City Gaelic Festival

$60,000

95

85

85

100

90

            91.0

Changing Of The Guard

$6,000

100

90

84

91

85

            90.0

St Augustine Chalk Walk

$25,000

95

88

85

93

87

            89.6

Searles Sack

$8,500

100

85

84

91

85

            89.0

Colonial Grand Muster

$8,500

100

85

84

91

85

            89.0

450 Years African American Experience

$60,000

90

80

85

95

92

            88.4

SA Film Festival

$10,000

77

86

85

100

94

            88.4

Drakes Raid

$7,000

100

80

84

91

85

            88.0

British Nightwatch

$10,000

90

81

80

100

87

            87.6

St Augustine Music Festival

$24,000

85

81

85

95

88

            86.8

Sea Your History Weekends

$60,000

72

95

75

100

85

            85.4

Taste Of St Augustine

$10,000

68

85

85

98

90

            85.2

Bed And Breakfast Holiday Tour

$18,000

60

74

R

99

86

            79.8

Race In The South:  SA In Context

$60,000

60

83

67

92

84

            77.2

Sea Community Annual Festival

$10,000

76

65

65

86

86

            75.6

Romanza Festivale

$30,000

50

85

80

65

90

            74.0

Gathering Of Friends – Childrens

$10,000

90

76

60

63

80

            73.8

SAB Music By The Sea

$10,000

67

80

68

65

88

            73.6

SA Maritime Heritage Festival

$10,000

73

50

65

90

86

            72.8

Book Festival Writers Conference

$44,045

53

80

65

80

84

            72.4

35th Concert Season

$10,000

67

65

60

77

89

            71.6

PV Auto Show

$10,000

43

81

65

R

88

            69.3

SAB Beach Blastoff

$30,000

62

65

55

83

80

            69.0

Limelight 4 Performances

$28,000

50

65

63

82

80

            68.0

St Augustine Orchestra

$12,582

36

49

60

92

92

            65.8

SAIRA Food And Wine Festival

$10,000

43

68

60

66

84

            64.2

Celtic Music Heritage Festival

$30,000

50

75

80

17

92

            62.8

Easter Parade

$10,000

49

55

55

75

80

            62.8

Plein Air Painting Comp

$4,000

51

60

45

77

80

            62.6

48th Art And Craft Festival

$60,000

51

68

45

64

80

            61.6

Holiday Regatta

$7,500

90

40

45

47

80

            60.4

Farm-2-Table

$4,000

20

55

50

77

88

            58.0

PVB Home Art & Design Week

$3,000

56

55

42

39

75

            53.4

Spring To The Beach

$2,500

38

35

47

59

80

            51.8

Holiday Creations And Shoppes

$3,000

44

35

55

41

80

            51.0

Last Good War

$2,500

45

45

32

62

55

            47.8

Blessing Of The Fleet

$1,500

53

35

30

35

78

            46.2

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