The Escambia County Commission divvied up more than $1.5 million between area organizations earlier this week. The money stems from the fourth cent of the Tourist Development Tax, or bed tax.
The collected tax revenue is meant to be spent on entities that impact tourism. The largest chunk of the money is headed towards the Pensacola Bay Area Chamber of Commerce.
After working the math various ways, commissioners decided on a formula that results in the money being spread between nine different groups. Significant changes from last year include a $100,000 cut for the Naval Aviation Museum and a total cut for the Pensacola Museum of Art.
Originally, the Historic Preservation Board and St. Michael’s Cemetery were removed from this years list of recipients. Commissioners eventually decided to add them back onto the list, and also put newcomer Frank Brown Songwriters’ Festival in line for some funding.
After discussing the issue during this week’s Committee of the Whole workshop, Commissioner Kevin White made the math work when he froze allotments at 2012 levels and shuffled $15,000 from the Pensacola Museum of Art to Arts, Culture and Entertainment (ACE).
“Those that requested increases and didn’t get them just have to understand how things are,” White said. “You can’t get increases every year. It’s better than being cut.”
The final tally is as follows: African-American Heritage Society, $25,000; Arts, Culture and Entertainment, $266,099; Frank Brown Songwriters’ Festival, $40,000; Historic Preservation Board, $70,000; Naval Aviation Museum, $100,000; Pensacola Chamber/VIC, $600,000; Pensacola Chamber/VIC (from 4th Cent Reserves) $250,000; Sertoma Fourth of July, $75,000; Skills USA, $100,000; St. Michael’s Cemetery, $25,000.