City Revenues from Corn Fest 2011


We need for DeKalb to collect, at minimum, about $30,000 in Corn Fest annual revenues on behalf of DeKalb Taylor Municipal Airport (DTMA) because that’s what city administrators told the FAA it would do.

They also said they’d put these revenues, consisting of sales taxes and parking fees, directly into the airport fund instead of dumping them into the General Fund and making transfers. They have not yet made this change, so I requested the numbers through the Freedom of Information Act.

Make the jump to see how well we’ve done.

First up are restaurant/bar tax revenues from 2008 to date.

There are other sales taxes, of course, but this is all I got when I asked for sales taxes. I’m not pursuing it further (in the past there’s been a claim of protecting vendor privacy) so make of it what you will.

Next up are the parking fees. Last year was the first year for the fee, which was set at $5 per vehicle.

Click on the photo for a larger image, and a second time to reach maximum size.

The report calls it “miscellaneous income,” which must refer to General Fund miscellaneous income because the amount of miscellaneous income listed in the airport budget is only $5,000. However, the latest planned transfer from the General Fund to the Airport Fund is $328,750. In view of the new information as well as past transfers I think it’s fairly safe to assume that $28,750 of the total amount reflects Corn Fest revenues being returned to the airport.

Looks pretty good, right? EXCEPT for the following (my emphases added):

Staff believes that the total revenue that could potentially be collected is $54,206. That total assumes a 3,500 car capacity and that total weekend traffic is approximately 18,375 cars attend the festival. A 20% share with the Big Brothers / Big Sisters organization would result in revenue to the City of $43,365. Because this is the first time that there has been a fee for parking, staff has had to develop the forecast without the benefit of previous experience in the event.

In recent discussions with the Federal Aviation Administration, they maintain that these revenues should be accounted to the airport in order for this event to meet the qualifications as an aeronautical event. Without this revenue to the airport, the FAA may prohibit future events at the airport.

City expenditures for collecting the parking fees will include the cost of overtime for finance staff at the event. Public works employees, as non-bargaining, will only cost a straight time rate as compensatory time.

The City will also incur the costs for assorted items such as additional signage for the event, money collect smocks, tent/shade making devices for the volunteers. These costs would largely be one-time costs as they could be used in upcoming years. It is not expected that the soft costs will be more than $2,000.

In conclusion:

  • The parking arrangement does help satisfy FAA expectations for airport revenues from Corn Fest — barely.

  • Parking revenues came in at only half the amount projected.

  • The new fee may not have covered the city’s costs to collect it, much less other costs of putting on Corn Fest 2011 (e.g., additional police, post-Fest cleanup, etc.)