The city of Canal Winchester expects its bed-tax collections to grow exponentially with the opening of Ohio's first "beer hotel" in the summer and a planned Hampton Inn next year.
Money from the transient occupancy tax grant program -- to use its more formal name -- is available as grants to nonprofit or private organizations in the city to help fund projects that will "enhance Canal Winchester for its residents and visitors," according to city guidelines.
The bed tax is collected at a rate of 6 percent. Finance Director Amanda Jackson said the tax is projected to generate $100,000 for 2018 -- and she anticipates that amount will more than double in the coming years.
"We are expecting an additional $90,000 to $100,000 from BrewDog and approximately $200,000 from the new hotel," Jackson said. "These funds will be divided 50-50 between the general fund and the bed-tax fund, as set out in our hotel/motel tax ordinance."
The DogHouse, adjacent to the U.S. headquarters for Scottish beer-maker BrewDog, welcomed its first guests in August with rates starting at $162 per night.
Guests at the 32-room hotel can watch brewers at work and enjoy beer from in-room beer taps. The hotel has eight suites, including the 645-square-foot Brewmaster suite and the 460-square-foot Punk suite.
Ground was broken in the spring for a 62,000-square-foot, four-story Hampton Inn on West Waterloo Street. Its 93 rooms are expected to be open to guests next summer.
The city also collects the 6 percent bed tax from the Best Western on Prentiss School Drive and the Carraway Guest House on Washington Street.
The 50 percent of the collection in the bed-tax fund is then split again, with half going to Destination: Canal Winchester and the rest into a pot controlled by Canal Winchester City Council; it is from this pot that bed-tax grants are awarded, Jackson said.
According to figures from the city, bed-tax collections have shown a steady increase over the past few years, with $94,677 generated in 2017 and $83,816 in 2016.
"The money should be used in such a way that what is already here is made better," said Karen Stiles, executive director of Destination: Canal Winchester. "Also, it will give us a bit more money to bring new events here.
"Currently, our historic downtown businesses can apply for the bed-tax money to be used to help them with upgrades and so forth," she said.
To be considered for bed-tax grants, applications must be submitted by Nov. 30. Applications are available on the city's website, canalwinchesterohio.gov, and must be submitted via email to Jackson at firstname.lastname@example.org or mailed to the City of Canal Winchester, Attn: Finance Director, 36 S. High St., Canal Winchester 43110.
Completed applications are reviewed by City Council's finance committee, with the full council giving final approval in December. Funds are released in January.
Recipients of 2018 grants include the Canal Winchester Art Guild, Canal Winchester Chamber of Commerce, Canal Winchester Senior Citizens Club and Canal Winchester Area Historical Society, among others.
Jackson said funds were used to purchase signs for the annual Art Stroll, advertising for the Labor Day Festival, a pancake breakfast for veterans and their families and umpire fees for the 2018 BrockStrong Labor Day Baseball Tournament.
"Two council members and myself will ... review the applications before making a recommendation to council," Jackson said. "Council can make changes to the recommendation before it is voted on by council as a whole."