$60,000 awarded through hotel/motel tax revenues
The Red Oak Tourism and Recreation Committee held a hotel/motel tax funding meeting on March 21.
Board member Jeanice Lester said they had 18 applicants, and some entities submitted more than one application. The committee had $60,000 in available funding, and the board worked hard to find funding for each project.
“We discussed the projects, and they all fell into the guidelines. To make the funding stretch, most of the requests got 30% of the funding they were asking for, and no one was left out, although some of the smaller requests were given the full amount,” said Lester.
One of the requests was funding to help build an Airbnb in the Red Oak square, and a question was asked whether an Airbnb truly paid hotel/motel tax dollars. After research, Lester said they do pay taxes, but the Airbnb company is responsible for collecting the taxes.
“If it’s an Airbnb in Red Oak, they know what the percentage is, and they send that money to the state. It’s not on our shoulders as far as are they or are they not paying tax, it’s how they’re registered,” commented Lester.
The original hotel/motel tax resolution was drawn up and voted on in 2012, and money started being collected Jan. 1, 2013. Lester said the funding has contributed to a lot of projects since then.
“To date, the total we have collected and given out is $893,981. This has been an awesome thing for the community, and I’d forgotten how long we’d been doing it,” stated Lester.
The projects receiving funding were as follows:
• ROOT Development, rehabilitation of 302 E Coolbaugh St., $7,500.
• The Red Oak Music Boosters, new piano, $3,600.
• The Red Oak Farmer’s Market, summer market and Lettuce Entertain U, $1,000.
• The Montgomery County Fair Board, 2023 fair entertainment, $3,000.
• Red Oak Municipal Airport, annual airport picnic, $750.
• The Montgomery Veterans Court of Honor, metal detector and weed eater, $500.
• The Red Oak Chamber and Industry Association, portable sound system and podium, $600.
• The Classy Chassis Car Club, annual car show, $1,200.
• Red Coach Inn & Suites, “Rock the Vets” Memorial Day concert, $1,200.
• Red Coach Inn & Suites, Loyalty Rewards program, $5,000.
• The Wilson Performing Arts Center, Marine Corp Marching Band performance Memorial Day weekend, $1,500.
• The Wilson Performing Arts Center, advertising for the 2023-2024 season, $2,000.
• The Wilson Performing Arts Center, professional production equipment, $10,500.
• The Red Oak Country Club, event venue revamp, $2,300.
• The Montgomery County Family YMCA to go to 24-hour access, $1,700.
• Save Our Depot, parking lot, retaining wall, and evasive plant coverage, $7,500.
• The Red Oak Grand Theatre, new seat installation and flooring in original theater, $12,000.
Over the summer, Lester said the committee will meet to review the application.
“It’s been awhile, and we’re always evolving. I anticipate the organizations and people that are applying are still going to be great, but the money may not be there like we used to have,” advised Lester. “We need to think of different ideas, like putting a cap on the funding, and fine tuning the application. Sometimes the money is much better one year than it is another year. COVID-19 took a toll on those years.”
Overall, Lester said she was pleased with the applications that the committee received to review.
“I feel the ideas out there were great. There were some new ideas, and some old ones as well. Most of the people come to the meeting in person to talk about their projects, or are available by cell phone if they can’t come in person,” Lester said.
The recommended projects submitted by the committee were approved as presented by the Red Oak City Council at its regular April 3 meeting.