Advocates for The Northwest Florida Heritage Museum successfully lobbied the Valparaiso City Commission to ask for $5,000 in Tourism Development Tax Dollars to restore a historic buggy that is on display in the museum.
So, a couple of explainers are in order.
Tourism Tax Dollars are taxes the County Collects from hotels for overnight stays – usually a couple of bucks per room per night. They add up pretty quickly – into the millions of dollars per year. With the recent bed tax expansion, now Valparaiso (and Niceville) can request that money, too. There are some rules attached to the money – namely, the money has to be spent on something that will promote tourism or bring more tourists to the area. “Its something you don’t have to worry about in terms of your budget, ” said a Northwest Florida Heritage Museum representative, Dr. Marie Hallion, “it’s some wonderful bonus money that’s coming along.”
A buggy, which I didn’t know until the Valparaiso City Commission meeting on Monday Night, is a people carrier powered by horses. Who knew?
Anyway – the city commission approved the request to the Tourism Development Council (TDC) Unanimously. The total cost of the recommendation is $6,000 – so the Northwest Florida Heritage Museum will be responsible for the other $1,000. The TDC will have to approve the expenditure, as will the Okaloosa County Board of County Commissioners. Once all of the approvals are made – the museum will get the restoration money for their buggy.
The city must request the money before the application deadline closes on April 14th.