Budget includes extra cash for Dublin Arts Council and Visit Dublin, Ohio

Sarah Sole
ThisWeek group
Dublin City Hall.

As the COVID-19 coronavirus pandemic continues, Dublin's budget has provided additional allocations for a second year to two organizations fostering tourism and the arts.

The additional money was granted in both cases to try to make up for the financial impact the virus has had on bed-tax revenue, said Dublin finance director Matt Stiffler.

The Dublin Arts Council and Visit Dublin, Ohio both count on those revenues for their budgets.  

Visit Dublin Ohio receives 35% of the city’s bed-tax revenue annually, and the Dublin Arts Council receives 25%, Stiffler said.

Bed-tax revenue is generated from a 6% city tax on hotel-room rentals. 

In the 2021 operating budget approved Nov. 9 by Dublin City Council, the Dublin Arts Council is slated to receive $518,441 and Visit Dublin, Ohio is slated to receive $173,000 from the typical allocations.

In addition, the 2021 budget includes rent forgiveness in the amount of $86,000 and $158,441 in additional funding for the Dublin Arts Council and allocates $173,000 to Visit Dublin, Ohio for the first half of 2021, because travel could pick up next year, Stiffler said. He said the city’s finance committee will meet quarterly to discuss bed-tax revenue and determine what to do about a second-half subsidy for Visit Dublin, Ohio.  

Last year, the 2020 budget provided $300,000 in additional funding to Visit Dublin, Ohio for its Restart Dublin Ohio marketing campaign, Stiffler said. The city also provided the Dublin Arts Council $54,000 in rent forgiveness and $306,000 in additional funding, he said.

With bed-tax revenue projected to be down 60% next year, the city again decided to provide support in the 2021 budget to help the organizations get through the pandemic, Stiffler said. 

Scott Dring, president and CEO of Visit Dublin, Ohio said the supplemental funding provided by the city will be critical in his organization's ongoing effort to help sustain the local economy and Dublin’s hospitality industry during the pandemic.  

“Without a doubt, our restaurants, retail, attractions and hotels need our support just to survive the next six months,” he said.  

David Guion, Dublin Arts Council executive director, said he is grateful for the steadfast support of the city in arts and culture in Dublin.

City support is critical now because the hospitality industry and arts sector are facing significant losses, he said. 

Due to a projected continuing reduction in bed-tax revenue, the Dublin Arts Council requested additional financial assistance for 2021 from council members and city officials, Guion said.

“We are deeply grateful for their additional support of our organization,” he said. “This critical support provides us with the necessary funding to deliver programming that is essential to the well-being of the community.”

The operating budget also is increasing part-time/seasonal staff members in anticipation of the Dublin Community Pool North's reopening.

The breakdown lists the full-time equivalent positions increasing from 10.45 to 19.77 in 2021. "Full-time equivalent" is a term that equates the workload of part-time employees with that of a full-time employee. In this case, the number of part-time employees would increase after the North pool reopens.

The pool has been closed for renovations.

Dublin public-affairs officer Lindsay Weisenauer said the pool is slated to open in time for the 2021 swimming season.

The 2021 operating budget includes total estimated revenues of $162,656,970 and total estimated expenditures of $197,223,904.

ssole@thisweeknews.com

@ThisWeekSarah