THE TOURISM TAX CONTINUES TO LAG BEHIND LAST YEARS NUMBERS PROMPTING BOARD MEMBER ANGELO PETRINIT TO ASK “WHY IS IT DOWN WITH EVERYTHING GOING ON AT TRI?”. BOARD MEMBER AND COUNTY COMMISSIONER LANCE GILMAN RESPONDS THAT THINGS ARE SLOWING DOWN NOW BUT THE FUTURE IS OPTOMISTIC. DENY SAID THAT HE’S GOTTEN THE MESSAGE ABOUT BEING CONSERVATIVE FOR NEXT YEARS BUDGET. LET’S HOPE IT WON’T BE YET ANOTHER (SMALLER) DEFICIT BUDGET…
By Nicole Barde
This month’s meeting was held at the Gold Hill Hotel and you can find the agenda for this meeting HERE and the audio HERE.
VCTC Executive Director Deny Dotson started by reviewing this month’s financials which shows the Tourism Tax at $29,360.79 behind projections and last year’s numbers. Board member Angelo Petrini asked Deny why the tax was down so much with everything happening in TRI, he said it was surprising to him. Board Member and County Commissioner Lance Gilman responded that things in general were slow for a number of reasons such as waiting to see the results of the election, slowing economy, some companies pulling back at TRI but that he saw opportunity in the future as far as construction was concerned.
The Transient Lodging Tax is $4203.84 ahead of projections and last year’s numbers despite the shuttering of the “B” Street B & B and the for sale listing of the Cobb Mansion. The Cobb will continue to operate and so will promotion for the property by the VCTC.
The current Fiscal Year budget shows Revenues ahead of budget by $34,457 (to the good) with Cemetery Gin and sale of goods coming in well ahead of budget. Expenses are at $63,443.21 over budget (to the worse) with capital expenses and event expenses driving the overage. The net budget position is $29,000 expenses over revenues. Deny stated that he found nothing alarming in the numbers and that revenues are starting to catch up to expenses. The VCTC general fund balance as of the end of February is at $ 289,056. Outstanding receivables show $65,998 owed to VCTC and so that would put the fund at $ 355,054 IF things hold as they are.
Deny made the statement that he has gotten the message about the need to be conservative on the budget for next year. He further stated that the VCTC may not be applying for those grants that require a monetary match. This would cut both some revenue and expense out of the budget but conserve cash nonetheless. Recall that his first pass 2016/2017 budget came in as a deficit budget to the tune of $29,000 over Revenues.
Next came the Marketing report and the usual updates. I had attended the V & T Rail Commission meeting earlier in the week and had gotten a copy of the marketing presentation for that Commission and gave some of those slides to the VCTC Board by way of giving them a comparison to another organization’s statistics on the same activities. It looked like the “open rate” for the email blasts for the VCTC far exceeds those for the Rail Commission….so that’s a good thing.
The Special Event update was given by Liquid Blue. The budgets for Chili on the Comstock, Fourth of July fireworks, Taste of the Comstock, and the grand Prix were approved. They reported that the Muckfest and Whisky and Cigar tasting event have been combined and that the location for the fireworks would change from the baseball field to the arena allowing them to have bigger fireworks and displays. The Rocky Mountain Oyster Festival was also discussed and although it was a success they discussed looking at alternative ways of serving people so that the lines were not as long and people could get served more quickly. Perhaps a buffet style configuration on the closed off part of “C” street might be the answer. In addition we need to see about getting more “testicle” vendors into the Festival and having a bigger prize may do that.
Looking forward Liquid Blue also reported that they are ahead on sales for October’s Red Run and that they had sold $5000 in tickets in just 4 days.
Katie Demuth gave a brief update on Groups, Tradeshows and the Visitor Center and reported, among other things, that the VCTC won an “Oscar” at the Rural Roundup Show for the “Below the Surface” video.
At the end of the meeting the Board had the opportunity to give closing statements and Lance talked about some of the information coming out of the Governor’s office regarding Nevada’s business and economy. That TRI is the lead energy generator for Business in Northern Nevada, and that it’s bullish on where we’re going in the state but cautious short-term. There is optimism about the future which will take 5-6-7-10 years to develop. The Nevada stats exceed the national average at this time specifically in construction. Lance further stated that activity at TRI is driving job growth which drives residential construction. That there are three hotels under consideration for the TRI area and all of this means tax revenues for Storey County. He said that Tesla and Panasonic are creating 100-200 jobs monthly and that the Tesla factory is expanding beyond just producing batteries into stamping car parts. TRI’s land sales have slowed a bit but there are numerous 100 to 700 acre projects and one with 2500 acres business potential “that’s going to rock Nevada and the U.S.” Lance said he believes that there will be a bump in activity after the election.