The handling of grant funding for tourism and events in Washington County has seen an adjustment.

A breakdown of the responsibilities of the City of Brenham and Washington County relating to tourism.
(courtesy Washington County)

At today’s (Tuesday) Washington County Commissioners meeting, the court approved an interlocal agreement between the county and the City of Brenham to advocate and promote tourism programs and services.

The change is that the county will no longer send money to the city to handle the administration of grant funding requested by local tourism entities.  The county treasurer will now fund all of the projects that are requested, and all funding applications will go through a grant eligibility committee comprised of tourism officials.

The grant eligibility committee will biannually review post-event reports and determine eligibility and priority of tourism grant requests based on state law requirements.  The committee will consist of five members: the Tourism and Marketing Director for the Visit Brenham/Washington County Destination Marketing Organization (DMO), the DMO Group Sales Manager, the Tourism and Marketing Coordinator, and two members appointed by the chair of the Tourism Advisory Board, which itself is made up of five members appointed by the city and two members representing the county.

Findings from the grant eligibility committee will be presented to a tourism grant funding committee, who will review tourism grant requests and make funding recommendations to Washington County Commissioners.  The commissioners court will appoint the five members of this committee.

There will also be a Texas Music Friendly committee to fill requirements of certification as a Texas Music Friendly Community, as well as a Washington County Expo committee that will work with county staff to support tourism efforts at the Expo.  Members of these committees will be appointed by the chair of the Tourism Advisory Board and city and county liaisons.

A schedule showing the new dates for Hotel Occupancy Tax (HOT) fund distribution.
(courtesy Washington County)

Beginning in 2022, local tourism entities can apply for and receive two rounds of Hotel Occupancy Tax (HOT) funding.  This year’s funds will be distributed in September, while funding for 2022 will be awarded this December and next June.

Commissioner Kirk Hanath said this new method of handling grant funding still keeps the county in partnership with the city through the grant eligibility committee.  Commissioner Candice Bullock said the process of making this change with the city began in October 2020, and that the adjustment will allow tourism entities to receive grant funding before they host major events, instead of having to use the funding as reimbursement.  The two also said the creation of the Expo committee will allow the county to capitalize on the Expo’s potential as a tourism destination.

Also at today’s meeting, commissioners approved:

  • An interlocal agreement between Washington County and the Regional Public Defender Office Local Government Corporation for capital cases. The county’s contribution for the agreement is $9,862.
  • A purchase contract to sell a 1995 Ford F800 Etnyre Distributor truck to Milam County for $15,000.
  • A subdivision variance request for a land division fronting Old Independence Road and Tommelson Creek Road in Precinct 3.
  • Formal notices from AMP Texas Pipelines, LLC for a natural gas road bore crossing Ganske Road in Precinct 3, and from Collier Geophysics LLC for seismic sensor operations to be conducted within the county right of way of Clay Creek Road, Sun Oil Road and Rocky Hill School Road in Precinct 3.
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