$50,000 from city helps fund events each year


SDSU students will continue to receive money from the City of Brookings’ “bed, board and booze” (3B) tax, but how they acquire the $50,000 annually set aside for local events will change.

With the dissolution of the Brookings Visitor Promotion Committee (VPC), City Manager Jeff Weldon will now sign off on student group requests for the money collected from the tax.

On the student side, Students’ Association President Jameson Berreth is in the process of putting together a committee that will take requests and forward them to Weldon, who believes this will become a faster process due to the change.

“I think it’ll be a faster, more expedited process,” Weldon said. “The dollar amount is there to use for eligible purposes, and I’ll have to look at it to make sure it meets all the criteria of state law, just like the Visitors and Promotions Committee did.”

The city and SA have agreed to a memorandum of understanding, moving the funding of student events from the Brookings Convention and Visitors Bureau and directly allocating money from the city offices via Weldon.

The VPC has been merged into the CVB, which will not have a role in the allocation of the 3B funds.

Since 2005, SA has received a portion of the 3B tax collected from on-campus meal plans, which are required by freshmen and sophomores living on campus.

The tax that would come in would specifically go to an account for student funds, which previously started out at $35,000, according to Berreth.

On Nov. 9, 2010, SA went back to the Brookings City Council and, because of an increase in students on campus, asked for more money. The city obliged, raising the yearly allotment to $50,000 per year.

Applications for 3B funding are processed on an event-by-event basis. The $50,000 available can be rolled over, as well, if there is an event that needs time and more money for planning.

SA’s role will include putting together a committee and making sure the group checks to make sure the applicant is requesting for a valid reason. Outside of those parameters, SA won’t be directing the group on what decisions to make or who gets how much money.

“We’ll have the responsibility for it, but we’d like for it to be in the hands of the student organizations that want to use it,” Berreth said.

SA will vote on Resolution 12-06-R Sept. 24, which will recognize the parameters set forth by the city council and will create a committee structure to allocate funds.

As for keeping students on campus over the weekends, Berreth believes it is possible to increase participation in both on- and off-campus events, and the 3B allocation will only help.

“I don’t feel that this is so much money that we’re going to be wasting it,” Berreth said. “I feel like all the organizations will be able to come forward and be able to ask for funds for events.”

Monies had previously been allocated by the city to the university based on economic return and impact. Berreth says the formula has changed and now the focus is only on keeping kids in Brookings.

“We’re just trying to keep students in Brookings and get them to connect with the town and have them realize the different opportunities or experiences they can have without going home or to Sioux Falls or Minneapolis,” he said.

Berreth said he would like to get moving on forming a committee as soon as possible because there are a few student groups that have already submitted applications for funds.