By Joe Naiman
Four Ramona organizations are asking for a portion of the county’s tax money from hotels, motels and other lodging businesses: Ramona Chamber of Commerce, Ramona Pioneer Historical Society, Ramona Trails Association, and Wildlife Research Institute.
Countywide, 361 entities requested a total of $11 million, and representatives of several of those groups spoke during the supervisors’ June 10 and 11 hearing.
Although only Transient Occupancy Tax (TOT) revenue from lodging facilities in unincorporated San Diego County funds the Community Enhancement program, organizations in cities are also eligible for funding. Each county supervisor has a $536,000 Community Enhancement budget and will decide how much of his or her budget will go to each group.
Most organizations are expected to receive less than they request. Each supervisor also has a $1 million discretionary Neighborhood Reinvestment Program budget, so some Community Enhancement requests may be fulfilled from that funding.
Ramona Chamber of Commerce last year requested $65,000 and received $42,000. This year the chamber again asked for $65,000, which would cover $55,000 for community events, $6,000 for public relations and marketing materials, and $4,000 to update the business directory.
Last year, the historical society received $15,000 of its $20,650 request. The $20,000 request for 2013-14 would provide $16,000 for an operations director and $4,000 for non-salary operations and maintenance expenses. The historical society operates the Guy B. Woodward Museum at 645 Main St.
Ramona Trails Association, which did not request 2012-13 funds, asked for $7,000 and would spend $3,500 for outreach and marketing campaigns, $2,000 to make the Cougar Canyon trail compliant with Americans with Disabilities Act standards, and $1,500 for community education programs.
The Wildlife Research Institute did not seek TOT money last year and asked for $325,000 for 2013-14. If approved, $300,000 would pay for 70 acres to expand the Ramona Grasslands Preserve and $25,000 would be used for the Hawk Watch program.