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Mac IX


How ever he spells it.

This is an interesting combination of arts and bureaucracy colliding.  There is no question that Ryan did a great job of establishing the program and running the amphitheater. We lost all the original "make you vote for it BS" about how easy and cheap it was going to be for local groups to use it, but he did make it pay for itself pretty well and certainly brought in big time tourist bucks.

It wasn't enough.  He had to learn to get along with and in the bureaucracy as well.  That is always damn hard for an arts/idea man.  They don't want people who think it is alright to make waves (and it may not be alright, it is just how some people are.)  It is one of the hardest lessons for people like Band Directors working in the schools, or symphony managers working with local businessmen boards of directors etc.  It is too bad that it got Dettra as he did very well with what he WAS able to do but had his chance and the word and didn't hear it/listen.  Too bad he didn't listen louder.

The whole ampitheater thing has confused me for years with Cross and Sword rained out about half the time, Shakespeare, combined garage sales, scary Halloween trails and all kinds of other stuff, all long before bed taxes were collected and spent for such events.

You seem to have some insight into recent events.  Can you explain something about how bed taxes are spent on fairground and ampitheater events?  Are other taxes spent?  What about profits, do they come back to a bed tax fund? Lots of people say that since tourists are the ones paying the bed tax, the events should be for them, not locals.  I don't care about Dettra and Cafe 11 politics and businesses, but I do care about how the county spends local and tourist taxes, and I wonder if government should be in the entertainment business anyway.

Re: Dettra

Mac IX wrote:
There is no question that Ryan did a great job of establishing the program and running the amphitheater. We lost all the original "make you vote for it BS" about how easy and cheap it was going to be for local groups to use it, but he did make it pay for itself pretty well and certainly brought in big time tourist bucks.

Here's one guy who doesn't think much of at least one of the Special Events at the fairgrounds:

Is there a summary list from the county on exactly how much Category II "bed tax" money was spent, and how much other tax money on all the Special Events since the County took over direct operation of the sites?  

And an official estimate of how many "tourist bucks" came to the county for each event?
Mac IX

I am no longer involved with those programs and can only speak for what was done in the past.  I know there have been some changes, particularly with the new penny and I know the new "leadership" of the funding panel had very strict ideas about what should be funded, but I don't know anything about the amounts of money involved or the rules as they currently stand.

It is also confusing because all the funding panel can do is "recommend" to the TDC board as a whole and they specifically have the last say and/or recommendations.

The last year in which I was involved, any non-profit could make an application and presentation on their application tot he funding board.  The funding board took the amount of money available and made recommendations as to which groups go how much.  This was presented to the TDC board as a whole and as a rule they approved it.

The question of balance of funding has always been an issue.  The funds are pretty much equally drawn, with a third being from St. A, a third being from Anastasia, and a third being from WGV and the motels and places there by the outlet malls.

The last year we were told that the money had to be disbursed on the same ratio and it led to problems (for me) in that applications from other than St. A lacked even face validity (one was obviously "for profit" even it had been validated as a non profit.  it included a hefty salary for the administrators etc.) and others were to fund social events during the week of the Masters tournament when every motel room in the area was already full.  I resigned from the board as the only form of protest that was available to me and that was the end of my story.

In terms of the fair grounds area funding, a specific amount was ear marked specifically for advertising for the fair (up front) and that remained fairly specific during the years in which I was involved.  The Folk Festival received some funding on a regular basis.  it moved to the amp. which didn't work well and then went out the the fair grounds which worked well physically but was a critical problem financially.  I do not know how much funding they received by moving it to town this last year but I understood that it worked very well and they actually made money for the first time in years.  I understood (very unofficially) that it was not funded for next year at all under the new "arts" standards the current board has apparently implemented.

There are (were) specific standards for funding, including the number of years funding could be provided and the supposed ceiling (which was $50K  but nobody even came close to having that much actually funded.)  The board could (and would) also make specific stipulations on how the money could be spent.  Often if a group had been funded several years the board would specify that this was the last year funding would be available and that the money was to be spent for advertising only etc.

Now you know about as much as I do.

It is 100% under the sunshine law and anyone can go out and read any or all of the records if they wish to do so.

I understand the bed tax funding better now, but am more convinced that the county shouldn't be in the actual running of the programs.  

Sell the ampitheater and fair grounds and let private enterprise provide entertainment and tourist-attracting events where they can make money.

Continue to use bed tax funds for grants to the private event sponsors.

Use the funds for maintenance and cleanup and parking lots at beaches and parks, which benefits us all. Forum Index -> In the News Local (St Augustine)
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