County to reconsider all nine funding panel members

400-SJC-ADMIN-PALACEHistoric City News was informed, during the course of a two-week old public records investigation into the St Johns Cultural Council and its management, that instead of considering only the two vacant seats on the beleaguered Arts, Culture, and Heritage Funding Panel, the St Johns County Commission has moved to reconsider all nine funding panel members.

Since the local option tourist development tax was instituted in 1986, complaints have plagued the county, its appointed Tourist Development Council, and Category II (Arts, Culture, and Heritage funding panel, largely centered around ethical stewardship of the first step in the process — determining which funding request will return the greatest quality of programming and other deliverables from the amount granted in the award.

“Any of the remaining seven members who hold a seat today, are welcome to reapply during this appointment cycle,” Melissa Lundquist told Historic City News editor Michael Gold last week. “This is a volunteer panel, appointed by the full Board, and as such, it behooves the county to periodically review its makeup.”

As of the close of business Friday, the county had received 18 bonafide applications from residents and non-residents interested in serving. With the apparent interest in the panel, last Tuesday the Board decided to have the application period extended until Monday, March 31, 3014.

The funding panel meets quarterly during funding periods, as necessary, at the County Administration Palace, 500 San Sebastian View, St. Augustine. They are an advisory committee to the St. Johns County Board of County Commissioners. Their charge is to evaluate and rank funding applications in accordance with approved funding guidelines enumerated by the mission and goals established by the St. Johns County Tourist Development Council and in accordance with chapter 125.0101, Florida Statues.

Every reasonable effort shall be made to have all County Commission districts equally represented on the Funding Panel. Seven members shall serve as Regular Members and have full voting privileges.

Of the Regular Members, two shall be non-county residents who are professionals with arts, cultural, or heritage organizations or institutions with experience utilizing events as tourism demand generators. The remaining five Regular Members shall be residents of St. Johns County with demonstrated interest in tourism or cultural development and promotion.

Members shall be appointed for a term of two years and may be appointed for up to three full consecutive terms. The three non-resident members shall serve a one year term and may be reappointed for up to four consecutive terms. Of the two Alternate Members, one shall be a non-county resident and the other a St. Johns County resident; qualified as described above.

CLICK HERE if you would like to download an application form. The last day to file has been extended until March 21st.

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