Canal Winchester City Council approved $24,500 worth of bed-tax grants for several community groups April 15.

Canal Winchester City Council approved $24,500 worth of bed-tax grants for several community groups April 15.

That's less than the $39,000 requested but more than the $23,500 awarded last year.

The list includes $9,500 to the Canal Winchester Historical Society; $1,000 to Canal Winchester High School's after-prom committee; $2,500 to Relay For Life; $1,250 to the Canal Winchester Art Guild; $3,000 to the Canal Winchester Recreation Organization; $1,500 to Canal Winchester Human Services and Community Food Pantry; $2,000 to the CWHS Alumni Scholarship Association; $1,500 to the Friends for Life Animal Haven; $1,000 to the Senior Citizens Club; and $1,250 to Friends of Canal Winchester Scouts.

Another $27,000 in convention and visitors bureau grants went to the Canal Winchester Art Guild ($1,550), the Canal Winchester Historical Society ($4,000), the Labor Day Festival ($10,950) and Destination: Canal Winchester ($10,500).

City Finance Director Amanda Jackson said collections from the bed tax are distributed between the bed-tax grant program and Destination: Canal Winchester, which also acts as the city's convention and visitors bureau.

"The convention and visitors bureau gets $30,000 each year and then, depending on collections, the amount available for the grant program is established," Jackson said.

"We try not to run the fund down to zero as the timing of receipts can play a big part on annual collections and affects our ability to award the grants when we do, as well as still being able to pay our obligation to the CVB."

Councilwoman Bobbi Mershon expressed concern that some of the grant recipients were then passing along some of the funds to other organizations.

"I'd like to know if they're going to give the money to a third party or not, because I'd like to have some accountability for that," Mershon said. "Like giving money through the Senior Citizens for Human Services for Football for Food instead of just giving it directly to Football for Food."

"The CVB grants are primarily for programs that bring visitors into our community," Councilman Steve Donahue said.

Jackson said she expects the funds to be distributed by April 22.