Indian River County Tourism Development Council recommends funding $ 1 million in tourism projects

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INDIAN RIVER COUNTY – The Tourism Development Council recommends funding over $ 1 million in tourism-related projects for the next fiscal year.

Wednesday’s vote from the board of directors, which submits tourism development plans to the county commissioners council, has yet to be approved by the commissioners at their June meeting.

Council Chairman Joe Flescher said he was pleased that the requests from the four agencies presenting the 2021-22 budgets on Wednesday had been approved without any cuts.

Joe Flescher

In previous years, some organizations received less than the amounts requested because there was not enough money collected in accommodation taxes to distribute.

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Agencies approved for funding Wednesday include the Indian River County Historical Society which will receive $ 32,000; the Treasure Coast Sports Commission which will receive $ 210,000; Indian River County Cultural Council to receive $ 60,000; and Vero Heritage which will receive $ 26,000 next year.

Owned by the Town of Vero Beach and under the direction of the non-profit Vero Heritage, Inc., the Heritage Center has been in the heart of historic downtown Vero Beach for over 85 years.

Funding for the Indian River County Chamber of Commerce, as well as the Sebastian River Area Chamber of Commerce, was also approved on Wednesday, although the two groups will make their budget presentations at the next council meeting. tourism development program on August 18.

“It is very fortunate that we have sufficient funding for all applications,” said Flescher. “We are happy that we don’t have to put an asterisk next to this year to explain why there have been cuts due to COVID-19. We would be on an apology tour.

Vero Beach City Councilor Richard Winger, who is a member of the Tourism Development Council, tried to add a last-minute item to the agenda to discuss how the city government could share a portion of the tax Indian River County’s 4-cent stay levy on all short-term accommodations, including hotels, campgrounds, mobile homes, and timeshares.

Steve Erickson, a local musician, performs and sings to soothing music on Tuesday, May 7, 2019 in the Florida Cancer Specialists treatment room in Vero Beach as part of an Arts in Medicine program sponsored by the Cultural Council of Indian River County .  The program integrates a variety of art and artists into the clinical setting designed to create a healing environment that can help patients, caregivers and healthcare professionals cope with serious illness.

Winger had sought approval from city council at their meeting on Tuesday to raise the matter with the Tourism Development Board, saying the city had to cover many expenses associated with tourism, including upkeep of beaches, hiring of lifeguards and the organization of recreational and cultural activities while visitors are in town. .

Richard "Tail" Winger

He came prepared with six slides to describe the city’s position, but his request was rejected by Flescher because he considered it too much at the last minute.

“I believe we can do it at another time,” Flescher said. “We have a pretty solid agenda and I’d rather do that at a later meeting.”

Tourism in the counties appears to have rebounded from the previous year, when the COVID-19 pandemic prevented visitors from traveling.

Indian River County Budget Manager Kristin Daniels said resort taxes have increased for the year so far by $ 108,291 or 6.2%. Tourism taxes are higher than budgeted by $ 362,696 or 24.4% for the year.

Janet Begley is a local freelance writer. If you like articles like this and other TCPalm covers of the Treasure Coast news, please support our journalism and subscribe now.

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