Columbia Council Doles Out Additional Hospitality Money

Columbia, SC (WLTX) - The Columbia City Council approved a committee's recommendation to disperse a $325,000 pot of hospitality tax money to 46 events and non-profits in the Midlands.

These disbursements are made in addition to more than $2 million approved last month.

The tax committee reviewed 96 proposals for funding. During the review, the committee said it decided on how much to disperse before adding up all their recommendations to see if they had enough funding to make sure applicants were evaluated equally.

"We went line by line with each of the requesting organizations," said John Whitehead, chairman for the tax committee.

Big winners during the vote Tuesday included the City Center Partnership, Five Points Association, and Black Expo.

Columbia Mayor Steve Benjamin said additional funding was needed for the City Center Partnership to increase security and maintenance on Main Street with new residents in The Hub, an 850 person new housing center for students and young professionals.

Smaller events and groups like the Sandlapper Singers, Governor's Cup, and Trenholm Artist Guild were also approved for additional funding.

"They are part of the community enrichment. We looked at each proposal very carefully," Whitehead said.

City Council members discussed the effectiveness of the committee process when allocating these funds. Some say they'd like a "council pot" to be dispersed at council's discretion and coincide with policy initiative and events spearheaded by city government.

Groups who received additional monies will now be formally notified.

Councilman Cameron Runyan was the only member who did not vote in support of the appropriation decisions.


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