Jeff council okays tourism grants

The Jefferson city council approved disbursements totaling $20,258 in hotel/motel tax funds at its regular meeting Oct. 10.

The largest grant is to the Bell Tower Community Foundation in the amount of $11,815 for billboards and other promotional materials for the Mahanay Memorial Carillon Tower.

The Greene County Historical Society will receive $3,173 for restoration work on the one-room schoolhouse (the Minnihan school) at the fairgrounds, and $630 for historic photos that will be placed in the front windows of the museum.

Jefferson Matters: Main Street was awarded $2,150 to pay for the Smithsonian Institute’s Home Town Teams display coming to Jefferson next summer, and also $1,990 for another historic plaque on a pillar on the courthouse square.

The Iowa Association of Business and Industry will receive $500 for a training session in Jefferson for young leaders.

The hotel/motel tax fund is the revenue from a 7 percent tax on room rentals. Eighty percent is earmarked for the promotion of tourism in Jefferson, and the other 20 percent is earmarked for recreation. No property taxes are in the fund.

Per the city’s policy, Greene County Chamber and Tourism received $30,000 and Thomas Jefferson Gardens received $20,000 for the interpretive center/Welcome Center at the Gardens. The remaining funds were available to any 501(c)3 organization on an application process.

The council’s hotel/motel tax fund committee recommended full funding of all grants received. City administrator Mike Palmer said there was a total of $35,000 available.

The council had approved $5,000 in matching funds for a grant received by Jefferson Matters for a signage study in March. In April the council approved using $550 in hotel/motel tax funds to cover the city’s share of a music performance license for the Mahanay Memorial Carillon Tower.

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