The Gadfly is a series of letters offering commentary on local issues and published in the Warrensburg Gazette.
As I said last week, the Greater Warrensburg Area Chamber of Commerce (GWACC&VC) and the appointed Convention & Tourism Advisory Board have developed an annual report and a budget to be submitted to the City Council in November (about 6 weeks after required by ordinance). The budget (and report of expenses for the past year) contained only major line items; I would think that the Board (& the City Council) would want to see the detailed reports of projects done and money spent; how else can they judge if the money has been spent wisely?
So far, the GWACC&VC has collected slightly under $50,000 in lodging tax money and spent $26,000, thus creating a nest egg for future actions. No problem there. However, the budget for their new fiscal year (FY99) doesn't address use of this carry-over surplus, nor does it include expected income from the cooperative marketing money they are to receive from the Missouri Division of Tourism. This budget projects only the use of the expected $54,000 in new tax revenue and thus provides a misleading picture to the City Council. To be fair, Board members did question this projection and the tourism promotion budget item, but made no changes during their Oct. 14th meeting.
The single greatest actual and projected expenses are "personnel" and related expenses, consisting of 47% of actual expenditures during FY98 and 59% ($31,780) budgeted for FY99. Their actual "tourism promotion" expense was about $6000, and they're projecting only $8,000 for FY99, plus a $2000 tourism brochure. Nothing in the budget spreadsheet or the annual report provides any detail as to how these figures were arrived at or what specifically the money will be used for. I would think that the Advisory Board, and maybe even the City Council, would want to see the detailed accounts of what the money was actually spent on.
Those who want to see the figures can find it on the internet at Tourism tax - look for the 'budget' link.
[see also Gadfly 20, Gadfly 22 and Tourism Tax information.]
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