Mike Barnet and Chris Archunde state their case for why North Kitsap Tourism should receive lodging tax grant funds.

Mike Barnet and Chris Archunde state their case for why North Kitsap Tourism should receive lodging tax grant funds.

Businesses and groups vie for Poulsbo lodging tax money

On Wednesday, Sept. 4, businesses and nonprofit groups, who applied for grants funded through the city’s Lodging Tax gave presentations to the Poulsbo Lodging Tax Advisory Committee (LTAC)

In 1998, the City of Poulsbo approved a proposal to participate in a state lodging tax. In doing so the state added a 2% levy tax on charges for lodging activities. The sales tax that would be collected by the state is then returned to the city to be used as grant funds for tourism-based projects.

One of the requirements of this tax program is that a lodging tax advisory committee or LTAC be formed to manage the disbursement of these funds to appropriate and deserving tourism resources.

The LTAC is made up of one city council member, acting as chair, two representatives from businesses that would collect the tax, such as hotel owners and two persons involved in activities that would benefit from the grants created by the tax, such as representatives from the city’s chamber of commerce.

Poulsbo’s LTAC is made up of city councilman Gary Nystul, owner of the Poulsbo Inn Terry Douglas, owner of Harrison Guest Suite Britt Livdahl, President of the Cultural Arts Foundation of the Northwest Greg Enright and Port of Poulsbo Commissioner Steve Swann.

“This year we have received a total of $306,000 in asks for grant funds, but only have $130,000 to disperse, it will be very difficult to choose between these applicants, all of which are very deserving of these funds,” Nystul said at the start of the presentations.

The 11 business and nonprofit groups asking for grants this year are:

Historic Downtown Poulsbo Association (HDPA)

Port of Poulsbo

Sons of Norway

Bremerton Symphony Association (now West Sound Symphony)

Poulsbo Community Orchestra

North Kitsap Tourism Coalition (NKTC)

Poulsbo Historical Society

Poulsbo Police Department

Vikingfest Corporation

Visit Kitsap Peninsula

Poulsbo Chamber of Commerce

Many of these organizations will be using the funds they receive from the LTAC grant to boost their advertising and marketing capabilities.

For example, the NKTC, a past recipient of LTAC grant funds, has seen great success come from their investment in video production to help businesses and cities across Kitsap County promote themselves and their events.

President Chris Archunde described the NKTC as a media support group that fills a gap within the Kitsap communities by providing trending productions and campaigns for establishments and groups that would be unable to afford on their own.

“We are really about trying to help people market themselves,” Archunde said.

NKTC’s Director of Production, Mike Barnet shared some of the videos that have been produced by the coalition and have reached over 60,000 people.

NKTC is asking for $10,000 to continue to produce these types of videos in addition to other marketing media strategies they use to promote tourism in North Kitsap.

There were other groups, such as the Sons of Norway, that planned to use the LTAC funds to support their programs, while they use their membership fees to make much-needed repairs to their building.

“All of our activities are internally funded through donations and funds raised through Sons of Norway and individual members of participating groups. The costs sustaining these offerings have exceeded our fundraising capabilities. Assistance provided by the lodging tax grant would allow us to continue to expand our programs and direct membership internal funds toward the maintenance of our 50-year-old building. We are at a point where we cannot sustain both our programs and the building through donations alone,” said Karen Zabinski, who joined the organization three years ago.

The Sons of Norway have asked for $21,200 from the LTAC.

Previous recipients of the LTAC grants include the Poulsbo Historical Society, HDPA, NKTC, and Visit Kitsap Peninsula.

The LTAC will hold a deliberation meeting on Sept. 10 at 2 p.m. to decide who will receive their requested funding.

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