Request for Proposals: 2018 Lodging Tax Fund

Submission Deadline: Friday, September 29, 2017

GENERAL INFORMATION

Various municipalities within Kittitas County impose a lodging tax assessed on the sale or charge made for furnishings of lodging according to RCW 67.28.180 and RCW 67.28.181. In accordance with the tax and Washington State Law, Lodging Tax Advisory Committees may also be established by various jurisdictions. The committees’ purpose is to advise and recommend to the legislative authority of the city or county how excise taxes on lodging should be allocated to support tourism which in turn generates revenue.

Uses According to Law:

According to State Statute and the inter-local agreement between Kittitas County and the Cities of Cle Elum, Ellensburg, and Roslyn, funds awarded under this process may be used for the following:

  1. Tourism marketing;
  2. The marketing and operations of special events and festivals designed to attract tourists;
  3. Supporting the operations of tourism-related facilities owned or operated by nonprofit organizations described under 26 U.S.C Sec. 501 (c) (3) and 26 U.S.C. Sec. 501 (c) (6) of the internal revenue code of 1986, as amended.
Definitions included in state law which should be considered in any application requesting funding include:
  1. Tourism means economic activity resulting from tourists, which may include sales of overnight lodging, meals, tours, gifts, or souvenirs.
  2. Tourism promotion means activities, operations, and expenditures designed to increase tourism, including but not limited to advertising, publicizing, or otherwise distributing information for the purpose of attracting and welcoming tourists; developing strategies to expand tourism; operating tourism promotion agencies; and funding marketing or the operation of special events and festivals designated to attract tourists.
  3. Tourism-related facility means real or tangible personal property with a usable life of three or more years, or constructed with volunteer labor that is: (a) (i) Owned by a public entity; (ii) owned by a nonprofit organization described under section 501 (c) (3) of the federal internal revenue code of 1986, as amended; or (iii) owned by a nonprofit organization described under section 501 (c) (6) of the federal internal revenue code of 1986, as amended, a business organization, destination marketing organization, main street organization, lodging association, or chamber of commerce and (b) used to support tourism, performing arts, or to accommodate tourist activities.

Review Process:

Cle Elum, Roslyn, Ellensburg, and Kittitas County have all agreed to collaborate in review of grant applications and awarding lodging tax funds for special events and festivals. Each municipality’s committee or designees will review all complete applications, score them based on the information provided by the application, rank the applications, recommend any funding awards, and forward the score sheets, ranking, and funding recommendations to Kittitas County.

The score sheets, rankings, and funding recommendations will be compiled by the County for further consideration by Consolidated Lodging Tax Advisory Committee (CLTAC). The CLTAC will be comprised of an equal number of members from each participating jurisdiction. The CLTAC will receive the scoring, ranking, and recommendations list and will conduct a public meeting where each applicant which received a funding recommendation will have the opportunity to present their application and answer questions. The CLTAC will publicly deliberate on the applications and the list to produce a final recommendation which will be forwarded to each participating jurisdiction’s legislative authority for final action.

Scoring sheets which determine the overall ranking of applications are included in this packet for your reference and information. Applications which do not receive an average minimum score of at least 50 points or who do not follow the submission instructions will not be eligible for funding.

Local Policy on Disallowed Uses:

The Lodging Tax Advisory Committees have determined that certain types of activities are not eligible for funding awards even if they may be tourism related. These include anything affiliated with the following: prizes for contestants, resale items, food and drink, beautification, fundraising, and membership drives. This list should not be considered comprehensive and all funding recommendation decisions are at the discretion of the committees and subject to change by majority opinion.

Application Definitions:

Below is a list of terms and phrases which have specific meaning within this application. It may be helpful for you to review these as you prepare responses so that you have a better understanding of the reviewers’ expectations.

Date-specific is an event or project which occurs over less than one month.

Matching Funds is the amount of funding your organization is contributing to the project or event. This includes both direct and indirect fund support. Direct funds can be in the form of cash funding from your organization or funding secured from elsewhere but dedicated to the project or event such as other grants, loans, donations, etc. Indirect funding support includes in-kind support like labor, volunteer support, supplies, and services which directly relate to the project or event, including those provided by your organization and others.

New Projects/Events are projects/events which are in the first four years of existence. For example, a proposal for a barbeque competition which is in its third year would be defined as a new project/event. Likewise, a project by an existing museum which expands its current offerings, or a specific new strategy for appealing to a different target market that is in its first year, would be considered a new project. Ongoing general marketing and advertising campaigns or general operational support requests for organizations/event which have existed for longer than four years are not defined as a new project/event.

Ongoing Projects/Events are defined as projects/events that have been established for more than four years. Applications that qualify under this definition may be awarded up to 10% of the project’s/event’s expense budget.

Partnerships are agreements between events/organizations/groups which enhance the overall project/event by providing additional value-added benefits or opportunities forattendees as well as the participating partners. For instance, as part of your event, you may have partnered with a local hotel or campground for a special group rate for overnight attendees. You may have also partnered with a local restaurant to provide a special meal discount or drink offer. You may have also agreed to refer your attendees to another event simultaneously occurring in another part of the county.

Project Budget is a written description of the complete budget for your project or event. It must include anticipated revenues, expenses, and any potential profit or loss.

Seasonal means a project or event which operates at least 1 month and up to 6 months, and during at least 2 seasons (Spring, Summer, Fall, Winter).

Self-Sustaining is being able to provide for your own needs without the assistance of grant funds.

Supports County as a Tourism Destination means including strategies within your proposal which will assist in attracting tourists to our County during times of the year other than for your project/event alone. It may include cross-promotion agreements with other projects/events, it may include active marketing of other projects/events at your project/event, it may include referring attendees directly to other tourist opportunities in the county, etc.

Year-round means a project or event is ongoing and actively working to attract tourists for at least 6 months, and at least 3 seasons (Spring, Summer, Fall, Winter).

SUBMITTAL INSTRUCTIONS

Applications must be submitted no later than 5:00 p.m., Friday, September 29, 2017
Incomplete and/or late applications will not be considered. Applications may not be changed or amended by the applicant after the deadline for submission.

Schedule:

Applicant Workshop:
Ellensburg City Hall Council Chambers**
August 17, 2017 and August 24, 2017
Applicant Workshop:
Upper Kittitas District Court, Cle Elum**
August 15, 2017 (Cle Elum), August 22, 2017 (Roslyn)
Application deadlineFriday, September 29, 2017
Oral presentations of proposals to CLTACFriday, November 17, 2017
Applicant Award Notification and fund availabilityJanuary 1, 2018

**Applicant Workshops are strongly encouraged

Project Management:

Successful applicants shall be required, as a condition of the funding award, to enter into a contract. The agreement may include, but not be limited to, the specific amount of the award and what it may be used for, all reporting requirements associated with this funding, payment terms, and any and all other appropriate terms of the funding. Kittitas County will be the contracting agent for all approved projects. A condition of the grant award which includes funding from the City of Ellensburg may be that the MyEllensburg.com website be named on any organizational website.

All funds awarded under this program will be available in the form of reimbursable grants. The funds will be available for reimbursement beginning January 1 and ending December 31 of the calendar year immediately following award notification. Any unexpended funds will be returned to the Lodging Tax accounts from where they came and made available for re-appropriation. All requests for reimbursement shall be made to the Kittitas County Auditor’s office at the following address:

Kittitas County Auditor
Attn: Lodging Tax Grant Funds Reimbursement
205 W 5th Ave, Suite 105
Ellensburg, WA 98926
auditorsaccounting@co.kittitas.wa.us

For specific information and requirements regarding the reimbursement process, please contact the Auditor’s office at 509-962-7502.

Project Reporting Requirements:

State law requires that all recipients of Lodging Tax revenues must submit a report to the municipality describing the actual number of people traveling for business or pleasure on a trip:

  1. Away from their place of residence or business and staying overnight in paid accommodations;
  2. To a place fifty miles or more one way from their place of residence or business for the day or staying overnight; or
  3. From another country or state outside of their place of residence or their business.

A report form will be provided as part of the contract for receiving funds. We ask that you provide this information within 60 days after your event is complete once you have critiqued your event.

In addition, any reports which are produced as a result of a grant award must be submitted within 60 days of completion as part of your project reporting requirements. This will provide evidence that the work paid for by the grant has been completed.

Applicant Categories and Eligibility:

Grants from lodging tax funds are provided for two types of applicants, New Projects/Events and Ongoing Event Support. An organization may apply for funding from one or both categories. If applying for funding from both categories, you must clearly identify Submit separate applications for each type. The categories are defined as follows:

The New Project/Events category is for applications from events/projects which are within the first four years of existence. Applications may be considered in this category from established events (older than four years) which are proposing a new or expanded project designed to increase tourism as part of an ongoing event.

The Ongoing Project/Event Support category is for applications from established events (ongoing for more than four years) which may request continuing support. Grant awards are limited in this category to no greater than 10% of the event’s expense budget. This category includes project/events which may be operating under a new board or organization, moving venues, changing dates, or implementing other non-substantial changes to a project/event which is ongoing for more than four years.

Other Information:

Insurance: As part of its contract for performance, a municipality may require contractors to maintain liability insurance in the amount of $1,000,000 or more and name the municipality as an additional insured on its liability insurance policy.

Application Form: Beginning 2017, the application must be completed and submitted as an online form, available on the Kittitas County website. You must register and/or sign in to the site in order to complete the online form.

Grant Preferences:

In the review of applications, the Lodging Tax Advisory Committee or designees will grant preference to those proposals which (1) increase tourism, and (2) demonstrate ability toward eventual self-sustainability. (3) Applications received from not-for-profit organizations will be given preference over those from for-profit entities.

Guidelines and Requirements for Advertising Expenditures of Lodging Tax:

Branding

Contractors who have been approved to utilize grant awards for advertising expenditures must incorporate Kittitas County and the appropriate City of Cle Elum, Ellensburg, or Roslyn tourism information as follows:

  1. Websites and Social Media Sites must include the County’s and appropriate City’s tourism website logo with an operational link to the site(s). The logo must be displayed on the contractor’s home page, it must be sized no smaller than ½ inch in height, and must be surrounded by appropriate white space to allow easy recognition and legibility. Contractors shall not change the logo(s) in color or appearance.
  2. Print Advertising and Online Display Advertising of all types ( including but not limited to newspaper, periodicals, flyers, posters, billboards, direct mail, e-newsletters, third-party websites, streaming displays, etc.) must include the County’s and appropriate City’s tourism website logo. The logo must be sized no smaller than ½ inch in height, and must be surrounded by appropriate white space to allow easy recognition and legibility. Contractors shall not change the logo(s) in color or appearance.
  3. Video Advertising of all types (including but not limited to television, online, electronic kiosks, motion billboards, etc.) must include the County’s and appropriate City’s tourism website logo. The logo must be size no smaller than ½ inch in height, and must be surrounded by appropriate white space to allow easy recognition and legibility. Contractors shall not change the logo(s) in color or appearance.

All logos and website information may be obtained by contacting the Director of Tourism, Kittitas County Chamber of Commerce

Advertising Reimbursements

Contractors seeking reimbursement from Lodging Tax Funds for advertising expenditures must adhere to the following guidelines and requirements for each type of advertising media utilized:

  1. Print Advertising:
    1. Print advertising placed with any media provider which operates exclusively outside of Kittitas County may be reimbursed at 100% of the cost, including any production costs. To operate exclusively outside of Kittitas County, the provider must not be physically located in the County and/or not distribute any media within the County.
    2. Print advertising placed with any media provider which operates inside Kittitas County may be reimbursed as follows:
      1. For date-specific events, advertising the day of the event and up to10 days prior to the event may be reimbursed at 100% of the cost, including any production costs.
      2. For seasonal or For seasonal or year-round events, or for date-specific events outside of the time-frame in Section 1.b.i above, advertising reimbursement requests must include a statement from the media provider specifying the percentage distribution to areas outside of Kittitas County. Reimbursements will be allowed for the amount distributed outside of Kittitas County, including any production costs.
  2. Television Advertising:
    1. Television advertising placed with any media provider outside the Yakima/Kittitas DMA will be reimbursed at 100% of the cost, including any production cost.
    2. Television advertising placed with any media provider inside the Yakima /Kittitas DMA will be reimbursed as follows:
      1. For date-specific events, advertising the day of the event and up to 7 days prior to the event may be reimbursed at 100% of the cost, including any production costs.
      2. For seasonal or For seasonal or year-round events, or for date-specific events outside of thetime-frame in Section 2.b.i above, advertising may be reimbursed at the rate of 70% of the total cost, including any production costs.
  3. Online Advertising:
    1. Online advertising and promotion may be reimbursed at 100% of the cost, including any production cost.
    2. Streamed media (radio, television, other) requests for reimbursement must include a statement from the media provider specifying the percentage of recipients which are outside of Kittitas County. Reimbursements will be allowed for the percentage distributed outside of Kittitas County, including any production costs.
  4. Direct Mail:
    1. Direct mail advertising may be reimbursed at 100% of the cost, including any production cost, for each item mailed or shipped to a destination outside of Kittitas County. In order to receive reimbursement, a list of the addresses and a signed statement from the contractor that the list is accurate, or other proof of delivery, must be provided along with other required documentation.
  5. Flyers/Posters:
    1. Flyers or posters which are placed outside of Kittitas County may be reimbursed at 100% of the cost, including any production cost. In order to receive reimbursement, a list of the locations where flyers or posters were posted outside of Kittitas County and a signed statement from the contractor that the list is accurate must be provided along with other required documentation.
  6. Radio Advertising:
    1. Radio advertising placed with any media provider located outside of Kittitas County may be reimbursed at 100% of the cost, including any production cost.
    2. Radio advertising placed with any media provider located inside of Kittitas County may be reimbursed as follows:
      1. For date-specific events, advertising the day of the event and up to 7 days prior to the event may be reimbursed at 100% of the cost, including any production cost.
      2. For seasonal or For seasonal or year-round events, or for date-specific events outside of the time-frame in Section 6.b.i above, advertising may be reimbursed at the rate of 30% of the total cost, including any production costs.

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Go to Lodging Tax Grant Application

CLTAC Scoring Rubric

All agencies will use the same rubric for scoring the applications (see below).

Score 1:
Supports County as Tourism Destination
15 points possible
Yes = up to 15
No = 0
Question 2, 3, 4, 6
Scored 2:
Length of Impact
15 points possible
Date specific = 5
Seasonal = 10
Year Round = 15
Question 3
Score 3:
Attracts Tourists from at least 50 miles away
15 points possible
Yes = up to 15
No = 0
Question 3
Score 4:
Applicant's Matching Funds
20 points possible
Less than 5% = 0
5% - 25% = 5
25% - 49% = 10
50% - 99% = 15
100% or more = 20
Question 8, 9
Score 5:
Partnerships
5 points possible
Yes = 5
No = 0
Question 4
Score 6:
Sustainable Future Funding Identified
10 points possible
yes = 10
No = 0
Question 5
Score 7:
Attributable Lodging Stays
20 points possible
0 = 0
1-30 = 5
31-100 = 10
101-250 = 15
More than 250 = 20
Question 7