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Lodging tax funds allotted

The Liberty Lake City Council gave seven local organizations a total of $70,000 in lodging tax funds.

The organizations applied for the funds in November. The funds are collected from taxes added on to hotel stays and are to be used to boost tourism in the city. The largest award – $25,000 – went to the HUB Sports Center.

The nonprofit athletics facility brings tourists to the area, executive director Phil Champlin said. He said out-of-town players and families coming to the HUB spent $5 million in the region last year.

The HUB hosted events like the Pacific Northwest Qualifier for volleyball, the Gymnastics Flip Festival, and Camp Classic Basketball Tournament for high school students, Champlin said.

The Spokane Sports Commission received $15,000 from Liberty Lake’s lodging tax. The nonprofit organization recruits and develops sports events, according to its website.

Visit Spokane, Friends of Pavillion Park and Windermere Marathon received funding, as did the Liberty Lake Rotary Club and the Kiwanis Club.

The five-person Lodging Tax Advisory Board picked the organizations that received funding. The members of the board are Mayor Steve Peterson, Rita Santillanes of the Peppertree Inn Hotel, Paul Sohal of Cedars Inn Hotel, Bert Lutzenberger of the Liberty Lake Kiwanis Club and Champlin of the HUB Center.

In other business, the council debated the placement of political signs in the public right of way. The Planning Commission had recommended changes to the city ordinance over concerns that the current rules violate freedom of speech.

Spokane Valley Fire Department officials sought to amend the proposal to protect their fire hydrants and other fire services from being obstructed by the signs in the right of way.

However, the council rejected the entire proposal and left the current ordinance in place.

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