By Oliver Lazenby
Whatcom County Council awarded $86,500 to the Birch Bay Chamber of Commerce for 2017. The money comes from Whatcom County’s lodging tax fund and must be used for operating the visitor center and marketing annual multi-day events that promote tourism.
Council approved the grant on recommendation from the Whatcom County Lodging Tax Advisory Committee. The committee makes recommendations for how to spend money raised by the county’s 2 percent lodging tax, which visitors pay at hotels, motels and other overnight
The Birch Bay Chamber of Commerce is the only organization in Blaine or Birch Bay to receive county lodging tax money for 2017. In total, the lodging tax advisory committee recommended $659,400 in grants to various events and tourism organizations throughout the county.
The chamber received the same amount of money last year. That money makes up the majority of the Birch Bay chamber’s annual budget, said Dannita Schacht, chamber executive director.
“It’s really significant – it’s all of our operations expenses, basically,” she said. “It’s how we can stay open.”