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I wanted to take a moment to clarify my comments with regard to input in the budget process.
The feeling of being shut out of the budget process comes from not having the opportunity to participate in the three workshops that the Commission held regarding the budget that we presented in July.
Our initial feedback from Tom Gray was given after the commission held a workshop in August to discuss the budget that the MCTA presented in July. It was agreed that in hind sight it would have been beneficial to have the MCTA participate in that workshop. There have been two additional workshops in which the MCTA budget was discussed. Both of those workshops were held without contacting the MCTA for input.
In each of the MCTA meetings with our Commissioner Liaison present and the MCTA workshop held with all three Commissioners in attendance for at least part of the discussion, the MCTA Board asked for input on which line items the Commission would like to see reduced to make up for the cuts that were made to the entire budget including the operational costs of the two supported Visitor Centers. The Commissioners had no specific suggestions for the MCTA Board to follow within those discussions, simply asking the MCTA to adjust the proposed budget to first fund the visitor centers at the current levels and use the remaining revenue projections to market the County’s tourism opportunities how the Board sees fit.
The 2013 Budgeting shortfall is not in the annual revenues…it is in the financially sound management of the fund. It is in carrying out the task of marketing tourism and in doing such paying for key marketing progress….brand platform, marketing plan, strategic planning and funds to carry that out, a tourism driven website with the ability to create conversions from a mere passing interest in the area to overnight stays that will in turn increase the revenues.
to be continued
continued from above.
It is in allocating funds in a manner that will ensure the reserve balance that the BOCC has requested is met. We are budgeting to spend $164,826.00 in 2013 while projecting revenue at $139,350, leaving just over 30% estimated in reserve. In 2012 the budget was set at $218,400 and the projected revenue was $104,400. All of this still rebounding from the 2011 budget that the BOCC approved of $378,942 while the revenues where projected to come in at $155,037. If we do not take an honest look at the years before and the work it will take to correct in the years following we will simply be spending money in the same shot gun pattern that has proven unsuccessful in the past. While the large reserves that the MCTA has had in past years has proven to be very beneficial in the research and rebranding process, the need to set a sustainable spending pattern within the revenues that are collected will be crucial to the longevity and progress of the marketing fund.
This year is truly pivotal in not only bringing this fund back to a sustainable budget process but in launching Moffat County Tourism into the 21st century with regards to tourism and what we are working so hard to accomplish with the brand and conversions.
When that is taken into consideration when addressing this fund, we may actually start to get somewhere with tourism. Moffat County Tourism as it is currently constructed will be the driving force in increasing tourism revenues and evening out the boom/bust economy that this region has come to accept.
We are so much larger, as is our task, than any ONE line item in our budget.
As always I am available for questions, comments, suggestions and discussion. Please feel free to call or stop by my office.
Tourism Director - Moffat County Tourism Association
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