REMINDER: THIS WEEKEND’S PARADE STARTS AT 10 AM ….NOT NOON AS IN PRIOR YEARS!!
CONGRATULATIONS TO WHITNEY BRUNSON PIPERS’ NEW EVENTS COORDINATOR!
A LONGHORN CATTLE DRIVE DOWN C STREET IS PLANNED FOR THE RODEO IN AUGUST
LESS OF A LOSS PROJECTED FOR THIS YEARS RODEO….DENY CALLS THE $20K LOSS A MARKETING EXPENSE!
LANCE GILMAN GIVES THE VCTC $10,000 TO HELP OUT WITH EXPENSES
By Nicole Barde
This month’s meeting was at the VC Conference Center. The link to the entire meeting packet can be found HERE .
First up was Kathy Canfield from the Planning department. She came in to give an update on the revisions for the sign ordinance. She suggests that interested parties view the draft on the website and give her inputs. You can view it HERE.
Next up was the Marketing report and a review of the changes for the new VCTC website and the refresh of the Pipers website to be consistent with the look and feel of the VCTC theme. The redo for VCTC is going to be along the theme of “Miners and More” tapping into VC’s mining history. It all looks good but I had to ask, again, that they not merely promote/market or brand Pipers as just another event venue. Pipers’ history is rich as a Performing Arts Center not justa wedding venue! Hopefully they GET IT and start to brand it appropriately.
Next up was Special Events. Liquid Blue updated us on the new direction for The Way it Was Rodeo this year. The date has changed to the end of August, and the Rodeo theme will be “Fiesta del Charro”. As a way to cut costs many of the prior features have been eliminated like the VIP section and the merchandising element. The ticket price will be a flat $15.
The Rodeo will focus on a completely different audience ….families and children. It will have a full Hispanic Rodeo as well as a mutton busting tournament which will have the kids qualifying on Saturday for the actual tournament on Sunday. In addition there will be a longhorn cattle drive down C Street.
HOW COOL IS THAT!?
Although they cut out some expenses the Rodeo budget still came in at a $20k loss. Both Executive Director Deny Dotson and Liquid Blue stressed that they didn’t think that it would be that much of a loss but that they were being conservative ( worse case) so that the numbers balanced in the budget. They felt that they are willing to have the loss if the businesses in VC will do better as a result of the event. I asked how they would know if the businesses would do better and the answer is, as always “no way to know”.
I asked them what they actually thought the number would be and why wouldn’t they budget for that number. Again they said that they don’t WANT to have a loss but to be prudent they plugged it in. Some back and forth between us as I tried to explain that you’re supposed to budget what you actually think will happen…..otherwise it’s “sandbagging”. Deny said to look at the loss as a marketing expense since the Rodeo will bring lots of people into town. Hummmmmm…..interesting concept…three years of “marketing expenses” …..closing in on $100k .
Karen Woodmanse, The Comstock Chronicle, asked if they would be promoting this event in spanish and the answer was yes, in addition to a more grass roots/guerrilla marketing approach of handing out flyers at key public venues such as the markets.
Once again the words “a learning experience” were said by Deny. This is the third year for the Rodeo and we are still at a financial loss and still learning.
I’m at a loss….but I digress……
The report for the Father Daughter Dance was that it was the best ever…it was a sell out at about 271. They feel that its popularity warrants expanding it for next year.
The Oyster Fry is ON for this week-end. With 15 cooks (the most ever) almost twice the number of tickets sold over last year, 1800 pounds of balls delivered and a VIB (Very Important Baller) ticket package added this year. There are several high profile restaurants participating and prayers being said for a warm and dry event…..nothing worse than cold balls.
The St. Patty’s parade will start at 10:00 this year.
Chili on the Comstock has an increase in cooks and in vendors and so looks to be setting up to be another gangbuster week-end.
The Pipers update has the introduction of Whitney Brunson as the new Pipers Event Co-coordinator.
The V & T update noted that the RFP for the Executive Director position and the Marketing contract is out.
Last but not least the VCTC 2018/19 budget presentation which you can see HERE.
Net-Net it seems to be a balanced budget on paper. I was going to do a comparison of prior years’ revenue and expense budgets to see what the relative increases/decreases have been over time but the budget information in the charts that Deny presented don’t line up. Meaning that his revenue chart starts with 2016/17 thru the 2019/20 budget year, but his salary expense chart starts with 2015/16 and ends with 2017/18. That plus the expenses are not totaled up for each year as they are for the revenues. Sloppy.
Deny noted that in 2012 the revenues were about $500k and that in 2018 they grew to $1.4 million!! That looks great.
So I asked him what the expense number was for 2012 so that I could contrast and compare the relative increases of both over time and Deny said he hadn’t looked that up.
The 2012-2018 summary looked like this: (these are items that ate into the VCTC general fund, note that in 2012 Deny inherited a general fund with almost $650k in it)
- Retainer for Special Event Promoter –$26,000 yr.
- Event Sponsorships (HAN, Street Vibe, Misc.) –$50,000 yr.
- Black & Howell –$90,000
- Fairgrounds & Arena –$210,000
- Loss of Gaming Revenue (Delta)– $25,000 yr
The “Looking ahead” looked like this:
- Fairgrounds & Arena Appraisal & Possible Purchase –$41,000
- Black & Howell Structures Report –$5,000
- Hot August Nights Three Year Contract –$30,000 yr.
- Pipers Opera House Management & Marketing Separate Fund
The ending fund balance for the 2018 budget year ending this June looks like this:
July 1st, 2017 Beginning Fund Balance: $304,077
Projected “FY 2017-18
- Revenues (Budget $1,356,000) $1,350,380
- Expenses: (Budget $1,330,900) $1,350,050 ü
- Difference + $330
Ending Fund Balance (06/30/18) $304,407
Inventory Adjustment $70,000
Contributors: -$20,000 Website & Mobil App -$30,000 Rodeo
Last but not least my favorite chart …..the projected ending fund balance:
July 1st, 2018 Beginning Fund Balance: $304,407
Total Revenues $1,452,500
Total Expenses $1,434,400
Budgeted difference for FY 2017-18 +$18,100
Inventory Adjustment ($55,000)
June 30th, 2019 Ending Fund Balance $377,507
Do you see it?
Only in government accounting do you add the inventory that you are holding, in this case Cemetery Gin, back into your cash general fund account as a cash asset!!!
I brought this up and Deny blamed County Comptroller Hugh Gallagher.
Meanwhile at the end of the meeting Commissioner Lance Gilman presented Deny and the VCTC with a $10,000 check to help out with whatever expenses were needed. Very generous.