VCVB income increased in 2006, Gawronski says|[03/23/07]

Published 12:00 am Friday, March 23, 2007

Year-end financial statements for 2006 show the Vicksburg Convention and Visitors Bureau had more money to work with, said Larry Gawronski, director for Compass Facility Management, the VCVB’s contract management firm.

Gawronski told board members Thursday night that income from the special tourism tax for the year totaled $988,088.19 while the agency had budgeted $995,310.

The money comes from a local 1 percent tax added to sales at local restaurants, motels and bars. There was talk of asking the Legislature to double the tax, but elected city and county officials, who appoint VCVB board members, opted to wait at least a year to gauge performance of Compass, hired in December 2005.

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&#8220You ended up very good in 2006,” Gawronski told the board.

For this year, May and Company has been hired to handle financials for the agency.

Statements provided to the board by the firm show sales tax receipts taking a dip in January, but rising in February. This January’s sales tax showed an income of $69,198, which was lower than the $75,000 expected. Numbers were up for February, which rolled in $98,905, compared to the budgeted $75,000. Expenses for the two months equaled $135,790, which was lower than the budgeted $190,802.

The board closed its meeting after about an hour, saying legal issues were being discussed, but revealed no action being taken.

One matter pending is a lease for its temporary headquarters.

The staff was forced out of its permanent headquarters on the northeast corner of Clay and Washington streets due to the collapse of the nearby Thomas Furniture building in January 2006. The move was to a building on the southwest corner of the intersection, offered by owner Harry Sharp at 15 percent of market value. He said he intended for terms to change after five months, but said no agreement has been reached.

Board chairman Nelda Sampey said at a special called meeting earlier this month that the board would vote on the proposed lease agreement in its next regular meeting, which was Thursday. No mention, however, was made of any action.

In other business, the board: