Your Tourism Dollars at Work


On July 13, 2009, City Council once more approved a $50,000 allocation to the Chamber of Commerce‘s tourism branch. Through a Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) request, City Barbs has obtained some financial information. This is how they spent the money last year:

DeKalb Chamber of Commerce Tourism Fund
a.k.a. DeKalb Area Convention & Visitors Bureau (CVB)

Statement of Functional Expenses — Cash Basis
for the Year Ended December 31, 2008

Salaries & wages — $35,054
Payroll taxes — $3,098
Rent — $5,200
Office Supplies — $331
Postage — $345
Telephone — $960
Meals & entertainment — $366
Automobile — $249
Gifts — $75

Subtotal: $45,678

Actual touristy stuff after the jump.

Kite festival — $1914*
Raffle expense — $295**
Advertisements — $2518
Marketing — $1465
Visitor Guide — $1932***
Seminars — $70
Licenses & permits — $29
Misc. — $150

Subtotal: $8373

Grand Total: $54051

Administrative costs were about 85%, then.

*Kite Festival revenues were $2477
**Raffle made $800
***The cost of the Visitor Guide was mostly paid for with a partnership grant and some ad sales, then CVB went halfsies with Sycamore for the rest. See here, pp. 4-5.

CVB wants to become a state-certified, countywide tourism bureau, and they have high hopes for the 2016 Olympics. They are currently pursuing not-for-profit status.

So far, CVB has not been able to wrangle any funding from the county nor any other municipality save for the Visitor Guide partnership with Sycamore. The City of DeKalb should ensure it does not continue to fund countywide tourism efforts (as it is now) if there is not countywide support. Also, DeKalb should be reducing the CVB allocation as it gains support from other communities and grows its fundraising efforts, just as promised with Re:New DeKalb.

Also like Re:New, the Chamber has a provision in its contract with the City to comply with the Open Meetings Act whenever use of city funding is to be discussed (here, p. 228).

Tomorrow: Part 2.