Local organizations vying for hospitality tax funding

SPARTANBURG, S.C. – Revenue from Spartanburg’s hospitality tax has been on the rise, and more local groups are vying for a portion of the funding.

“It’s a reflection of the fact that the city’s grown, there’s more restaurants. I think restaurants in general are doing better,” said Spartanburg Communications Manager Will Rothschild. He says the money from taxing prepared meals and drinks is now more than $4.2 million. “As it has evolved and more organizations have learned what’s available and the amount of money available has grown, it’s become much more competitive.”

Monday, Spartanburg City Council heard from organizations requesting funds the city has capped at $450,000.

“These are organizations that add to the vitality of the city,” said Rothschild.

Wofford college has previously been criticized for being awarded funds for its homecoming block party.

This year, alongside the county and Visitors and Convention Bureau, the school is requesting $10,000 in funds for the fan experience portion of the Carolina Panthers training camp, saying more than 100,000 people are expected.

“When they come they eat, they spend the night, they buy gas,” said Director of Alumni and Parent Programs Deborah Thompson.

The impact on the city drives council’s decision on who gets funded. Council was divided Monday night when denying the Shrine Bowl of the Carolinas a $50,000 request because of an incomplete application.

“The packet may have not been completed but something was turned in,” said Councilman Jerome Rice.

Council voted 4-3 to not hear the presentation at all. “We’ve got rules and regulations that we must adhere to,” said Mayor Junie White.

We reached out to the Shrine Bowl to find out whether denial of funds will affect the event. We’re still awaiting their comment.

City staff will recommend who gets funding at the July 11th council meeting.

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