Blaine City Council OKs 2012 BTAC-recommended projects

Published on Thu, Dec 22, 2011 by Jeremy Schwartz

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Funding for eight Blaine tourism-related projects or programs for 2012 has been approved, but five will get less than they had requested.

Blaine City Council approved the Blaine Tourism Advisory Committee’s (BTAC) recommendations for 2012 projects as part of the city’s 2012 budget. The BTAC members recommend which projects should be funded and the level of funding the projects will receive. The funds come from hotel and motel taxes paid by visitors staying in Blaine, said Debbie Harger, Blaine’s community and tourism development coordinator.

Total BTAC revenue for 2012 is estimated to be approximately 21 percent lower than 2011and 33 percent lower than revenue in 2010. Harger said the drop in revenue is the result of fewer visitors staying in Blaine motels and hotels.

Harger said most of last year’s event organizers, such as those behind the Blaine Old Fashioned 4th of July and Drayton Harbor Days, applied for funding again in 2012. The Blaine Chamber of Commerce, which applied for $1,000 for Drayton Harbor Days and $13,000 for the July 4th celebration, received the requested amount for Drayton Harbor Days but only $10,000 for the Old Fashioned Fourth of July.

The BTAC recommended the United States Canada Peace Anniversary Association receive $10,000 for next year’s international sculpture exhibit. The association had applied for $17,500. Drayton Harbor Maritime received $25,000 of the $30,000 they requested for operating the historic Plover ferry, while Bellingham/Whatcom County Tourism received $10,000 of the $30,000 they requested for Blaine-related promotions.

The Pacific Arts Association, which organizes the Blaine Jazz Festival every year, applied for $24,000 for 2012, but the BTAC’s original recommendation was for $2,000. However, Harger said representatives from the Semiahmoo Lighthouse Point Resurrection Project offered $13,000 in BTAC funds they had received last year but not used. So for 2012, the Jazz Festival will receive a total of $15,000 from the BTAC.

The BTAC awarded a total of $74,500 in hotel/motel tax revenue to tourism-related projects in 2012. In 2011, the committee awarded $107,000, a decrease of about 30 percent.