The Gadfly is a series of letters offering commentary on local issues and published in the Warrensburg Gazette.
The Greater Warrensburg Area Chamber of Commerce & Visitors Center (GWACC&VC) Convention & Tourism Advisory Board held its semi-stealth bimonthly meeting on the 17th. I still fail to understand why they don’t openly invite the public & local media, as there’s certainly nothing to hide as far as what they do in the meetings. They actually had a quorum, with three of the five appointed members present. Again, the City of Warrensburg failed to send its ex-officio member; I guess the $54,000 involved is small potatoes and unworthy of city staff attention.
The Board discussed their budget for next year and reviewed general financial categories for the current year. I have yet to see them examine details of specific expenses. So far this year, they’ve spent roughly $21,000 on salaries & related expenses, $4,500 on computer hardware, $8,000 on a brochure, $270 on a phone line, $1,000 on postage, $1,200 on utilities, and $2,700 on “miscellaneous – other.” Spent on tourism promotions - $232.16. And, of course, this doesn’t include the 20% off the top going to “Chamber programs.” I’ll post the details at www.cedarcroft.com/tourtax next week.
So, what specific things are they doing to bring visitors to Warrensburg? Radio commercials with one station each in Kansas City, Springfield, Chillicothe & mid-Missouri, promoting the county fair, CMSU performing arts series, Wings over Whiteman, Old Drum & the depot train display. No Board member asked about the effectiveness of the county fair ads, but I expect the State will since the project involves cooperative marketing funds. Other specific projects (not necessarily limited to tourism efforts) include a video to show to WAFB newcomers, a flea market at the fairgrounds in April, and putting painted plastic mule statues around town (hey, at least it’s not cows!).
Actually, despite my caustic comments, it’s good to see the GWACC&VC’s tourism efforts sputtering along in the right direction, remembering that the prime goal should be to get people from other places to spend money in Warrensburg. Tourism room taxes aren’t necessarily forever, nor are they always supported by the public, as tourism promoters in Henry County learned when their recent attempt to pass one failed rather badly.
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