City divvies up state tax money

PC President Bob Staton signed up to address Council during public comment, but Council had already given him what he wanted — $50,000 of $130,000 that the college requested for baseball field lights. “Thank you for your support,” he said. “We appreciate it.” All votes to allocate funding were unanimous with the exception of the PC vote, which passed 4-1. Councilwoman Robbie Neal was the lone no vote. Mayor Bob McLean and Councilman Ronnie Roth recused themselves from the PC vote. Councilwoman Shirley Jenkins recused herself from the Hospice vote.
Clinton City Council was handing out state accommodation tax money on Monday night like Oprah Winfrey hands out cars.
Clinton Canopy got $1,000 for a Greenspace brochure.
Main Street Clinton got $15,000 for Scots & Brats.
Hospice of Laurens County got $10,000 for Flight of the Dove.
Presbyterian College got $50,000 for baseball field lights.
The City got $150,000 for a Welcome Center.
All of these projects were recommended by the Accommodation Tax Committee for the Council’s approval. Two projects were not recommended by the Committee, but were approved by City Council — $45,380 for a Main Street Clinton synchronized Holiday Light Show and the balance of funds remaining to go to the City of Clinton for various tourism related uses.
The funding comes from a 2 percent state tax on room rentals and Clinton receives approximately $80,000 each year. But if you don’t use the money on tourism related projects, you can lose it.
“It’s suppose to be dispersed,” said Clinton City Manager Bill Ed Cannon. “We lost money we didn’t use before I got here.”
The state audits the funding, but ultimately City Council determines who gets what share of the money.
PC President Bob Staton signed up to address Council during public comment, but Council had already given him what he wanted — $50,000 of $130,000 that the college requested for baseball field lights.
“Thank you for your support,” he said. “We appreciate it.”
All votes to allocate funding were unanimous with the exception of the PC vote, which passed 4-1. Councilwoman Robbie Neal was the lone no vote. Mayor Bob McLean and Councilman Ronnie Roth recused themselves from the PC vote. Councilwoman Shirley Jenkins recused herself from the Hospice vote.
In total, City Council approved $271,380 in state accommodation tax funding. Kay Addison with the Accommodations Tax Advisory Committee said Clinton has a $341,148 surplus. That would leave an additional $69,768 for the City to use on the Welcome Center, outside landscaping and a museum. At least, those were some uses suggested by McLean, who made the motion to take the surplus down to zero at the request of Cannon.
In addition of Addison, Heather Tiller, Janice Long, Sharon Shipp, Jamie Adair and Dianne Wyatt are members of the Accommodation Tax Committee.
State accommodation taxes are different from local accommodation tax money, which will fund construction of the new Recreation Complex.
In other business:
• The following proclamations were approved: November as Alzheimer’s Disease Awareness Month, Diabetes Awareness Month, Lung Cancer Awareness Month and Pancreatic Cancer Awareness Month.
• New Assistant City Manager Thomas Higgs was recognized. He stood and briefly acknowledged Council and those in attendance.
• Five new police officers were recognized: William Foster, Quin Adams, Brandon Howard, Tawanna Thompson and Adam Galloway. Dena Messer, another new officer, was not present.
• Council approved second reading of an ordinance allowing for Sunday alcohol sales within the City limits.
• Council approved second reading of an ordinance providing for new codified codes.
• A workshop to discuss capital improvement projects to be submitted to the Sales Tax Commission was scheduled for 5 p.m. December 2.
• Executive session lasted 23 minutes and Council discussed a contractual matter relating to the sale and purchase of real property, but took no action upon returning to open session.
• The Community Grant Assistance Committee (Councilmen Danny Cook, Megan Walsh and Jenkins) recommended $1,000 each to Clinton Canopy, Community Garden, Safe Home, Little Devils and United Ministries, which was approved unanimously by City Council. The Grant Assistance Committee retained $5,000 for future requests.
• Walsh recommended a quarterly work session.
• Jenkins asked about City preparations for the upcoming census.
• Cook thanked everyone for their prayers during his recent surgery.
• McLean bragged on Fall-O-Ween and welcomed Higgs again.

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