By Paul Huggins, Staff Writer, The Decatur Daily
Despite a year with less than expected revenues, the Decatur-Morgan County Convention and Visitors Bureau increased its spending budget for the next fiscal year.
The bureau board of directors approved $723,000, which covers everything from staff payroll, trips to trade shows, advertising, support for local festivals and fees to host special events.
Sales and marketing account for $410,000 of the budget, which includes $70,775 on advertising and brochures and $210,000 to cover bid, host and support fees for 23 special events. The latter category had an increase of almost $69,000 compared to last year’s amount for 19 special events.
The 2008-09 revised mid-year budget was $717,874, and the bureau projects revenues to come in at $670,320 this year for a net loss of $47,554.
Bureau officials cite fewer corporate travelers as the main cause of decreased revenue.
Board treasurer Wade Weaver said the bureau has enough reserves to compensate for this year’s deficit.
It had budget surpluses in previous years, including $15,647 last year.
Bureau President Tami Reist said one reason for the budget increase for next year is because Decatur will be host four major sporting events in October and November. Combined they will require $58,000 in host fees.
Reist also said she is optimistic corporate travel will rebound next year based on what she has learned from some local industries.
Corporate visitors traditionally are the backbone of the local hotel market.