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Tourism money on agenda

CenterPlace, skating cut into grants

The Spokane Valley City Council is to act Dec. 9 on a committee proposal for spending $520,000 in motel tax receipts anticipated next year.

The total is roughly the same as $519,300 awarded this year for tourism promotion.

Only $400,000 of next year’s expected total was awarded competitively because the council earmarked $90,000 for the CenterPlace conference center and $15,000 for promotion of the 2010 U.S. figure skating championships.

Several organizations that competed for the remaining money would receive less next year than they have in the past.

The city’s Lodging Tax Advisory Committee recommends these allocations: Spokane Regional Convention and Visitors Bureau, $236,000, down from this year’s $306,000; Spokane Regional Sports Commission, $115,000, down from this year’s $145,000; Valleyfest, $27,500, down from $30,000; Spokane County Fair and Expo Center, $18,250, down from $30,000.

Also, the Spokane Valley Heritage Museum, which got nothing this year, would receive $3,250, and the Spokane Winery Association, which got $8,300 this year, would receive nothing next year.

City Councilwoman Diana Wilhite, who serves on the Lodging Tax Advisory Committee, said the committee felt the wineries could afford to handle their own promotional costs.

Wilhite said the committee wanted to help the Spokane Valley museum improve its promotion by developing a less costly leaflet.

The six organizations vying for a share of next year’s motel tax receipts requested a total of $645,260.

Technically, the motel tax is a share of the state sales tax, equivalent to 2 percent of motel room charges. The money goes to cities to promote tourism.

It is separate from a 2 percent surcharge that brings the tax on lodging bills in Spokane and Spokane Valley to 10.7 percent. The surcharge is reserved for facilities development.

Contact reporter John Craig at 927-2165 or by e-mail at


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