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and to support special projects, a county staff memo notes. On June 4, 2013, the commission approved a grant of Tourist Development Tax revenue "to assist in the payment of sanction fees for the 2013 and 2014 Suncoast Offshore Super Boat Grand Prix Festivals," the memo explains. That action did not preclude Suncoast Charities from seeking a waiver of direct fees for county services for all future festivals, the memo adds. Those fees would cover assistance of the Sarasota County Fire Department and the Emergency Management Services (EMS) and Parks and Recreation departments, including EMS support in the boat pits. Last year, according to a study Suncoast Charities commissioned, the festival gener- ated an estimated economic impact of $17 million, the memo says. A separate study commissioned by Visit Sarasota County — the county's tourism office — found that the events produced 13,400 room nights totaling $1.6 million in hotel revenue. Further, the study showed that festival attendees spent $8.6 million, resulting in $254,628.27 in resort and state sales tax revenue collected by the county. After expenses, the memo continues, Suncoast Charities received a net of $70,690 from the 2013 festival. FLORIDA HOUSE A little more than a year ago — on April 10, 2013 — the commission approved a $100,000 grant for the Florida House, the educational project designed originally to promote energy and water conservation. The Executive Board of the Florida House Institute requested the The Miss Geico team rides on its boat during the Suncoast Super Boat Grand Prix Festival Parade of Boats in downtown Sarasota in 2013. Photo by Norman Schimmel Sarasota News Leader May 9, 2014 Page 69

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