Hope Tourism Commission meeting discusses revenues, expenses, Train Day numbers

Deanna Gilbert, representing the Hope Farmer’s Market, asks the Hope Advertising and Tourist Promotion Commission to provide funds for a sinnk at The Hub.

At its May meeting late Wednesday afternoon, the Hope Advertising and Tourist Promotion Commission got a report on the last quarter’s revenues and expenses, examined expenses from Train Day, received an update on the standing of Hope businesses regarding the Tourism Tax and agreed to help finance the installation of a sink to the Hub’s storage room.

The meeting began with the approval of minutes of the previous meeting, then proceeded to the review of the revenue and expense report presented to the commission by Hope Parks Superintendent Summer Powell.

Revenues for the department for April, up to April 22, were $58,812.37, with $54,805.37 collected in Tourism Tax, $300 in Coliseum rental, $3,007 in fees from the RV Park and $700 in other income.

A section of the Hope Tourism Promotion bank statement from May 6 to 11 was provided to show expenses incurred during the run-up to the Train Day event, which took place Saturday May 7. Some items were not related to Train Day, came under discussion, namely the costs of electricity for the RV Park, which Commissioner Trevor Coffee said suggested a need to raise prices for services there.

Charts provided by the Parks and Recreation Department showed the revenues collected for each month of the first quarter of 2022 as January $59,990.74, February $43,927.56, March $56,019.49 and April $58,812.37 The January and March numbers represented gains over last year, but February and April showed losses.

A report on Train Day expenses versus revenues showed the Parks Department paid $16,852.36 to various vendors and services, while receiving $14,692 in sponsorship funds, entrance fees and t-shirt sales proceeds.

Commissioner Steve Montgomery raised concerns about the net loss of $2,160.36. Chair of the commission Sharon Caldwell reported that she had heard many compliments about the event. Mayor and commissioner Don Still said he had too, particularly about the Kids’ Zone, where the owners of the equipment supervised its use, minimizing any problems that could have occurred.

Caldwell also noted that many businesses approached to sponsor Train Day reported their budgets for the fiscal year were maxed out on sponsoring after having agreed to sponsor the Watermelon Festival.

Powell said more revenue could be brought in with the sales of the remaining t-shirts commemorating the event.

The commission then discussed how to approach certain Hope businesses that were behind on paying their Tourism Tax.

In the next item, Deanna Gilbert, representing the Hope Farmer’s Market, requested funds from the commission for installing new sink in the storage room of the Hub. The Farmers Market had already collected a $250 donation. The commission did approve granting $400 for this request.

In the next item, Powell told the commission she had received a quote for 55 seasonal banners at $6,064.64. The Downtown Network, a local nonprofit, has agreed to contribute half the cost for these. No action was taken since the Parks Department is empowered by state law to spend that amount without commission approval.

The last item was a request by Powell to set a date for a meeting of the Sparks Fly in July.

During Citizens Request time, member of the Hope Board of Directors and representative of the Downtown Network Mark Ross requested the commission to consider merging Train Day and Trade Days to save money by insuring the two events with one policy.

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