County to consider 2013 CVB budget

11/17/2012

By SCOTT AUST

By SCOTT AUST

saust@gctelegram.com

The Finney County Commission will consider approving the 2013 Convention and Visitors Bureau budget on Monday, which is nearly $600,000 more than the 2012 budget.

The commission approved an $800,000 2013 guest tax budget during the normal budget process in July and August. Monday, the commission will consider approval of the other details of the CVB budget, according to county administrator Randy Partington. Any amount collected this year over the budgeted amount would be available in 2013.

Projected income in the CVB 2013 budget includes $800,000 in guest tax revenue, $5,000 in other income and $629,000 in cash on hand for a total budgeted income of $1.434 million. Total expenses budgeted for 2013, which includes both administrative and business expenses, is $358,500, a decrease from $386,800 budgeted in 2012.

Lynn Schoonover, CVB director, said the amount of cash on hand includes cash carryover and investments that followed the CVB since it split from the Garden City Area Chamber of Commerce.

"It's the reserves we have," she said. "We go four months without receiving a check so we only receive a check that goes to our budget once every quarter. We have to sustain cash on hand in order to meet our budget until the next check comes in on a quarterly basis."

The CVB is funded by a 6 percent transient guest tax, or bed tax, an additional charge added by hoteliers to their normal room rates. The county raised the tax to its current rate from 4 percent in 2010 with all the funds currently going to the CVB.

Hotel owners collect the tax and send it to the state each month. Each quarter, the state sends the funds to the county which in turn issues a check to the CVB.

Schoonover said CVB needs a reserve set aside in order to maintain its budget since it only receives money once each quarter.

Representatives of the CVB and the Finney County Economic Development Corp. met on Thursday about the FCEDC's request to use some excess bed tax collections for economic development.

Essentially, the FCEDC wants the county commission to put a certain amount of bed tax funds collected over the budgeted amount into a commission-controlled reserve fund that could be tapped when needed for incentives to lure prospective businesses and industry to the county.

A couple of months ago, the county commission asked the two groups to talk about the issue and make a recommendation.

Schoonover said no decisions have been reached, but both groups plan to continue talking.

"I think everybody wants the same thing. Whatever we can do to make Garden City and Finney County grow and prosper, I think we're all in agreement that's what we'd like to see," she said.

Other items on the agenda include a monthly review from the county health department; a monthly report from the public works department about road, bridge and other department activities; a proposed plan for 2013 asphalt projects; a public hearing for Sewer District 2; a monthly review of Emergency Medical Services; discussion of a county resident's zoning issue; review of the Exhibition Building project; and discussion of Finney County's legislative platform.

In addition, the county will host a joint meeting over lunch with city and county officials of Garden City, Finney County, Dodge City, Ford County, Liberal, and Seward County to talk about issues of common interest to local governments. The lunch will be in the Carol Brown conference room at the county administrative center.

The county commission meets at 8:30 a.m. Monday at the Finney County Administrative Center, 311 N. Ninth St.

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