tourism gears for
challenging year on tight budget
(February 2011) A 7 percent decline in Jefferson
County, Ind., innkeepers tax last year has resulted in less money available
for tourism operations this year. The Jefferson County Board of Tourism,
the tax collection and dispersion entity, cut its annual contribution
to the Madison Area Convention and Visitors Bureau by $4,000 in January
as a result of the lower collections.
The MACVB board already had met in December and approved
its 2011 operating budget of $365,311 but at its January meeting had
to vote again on a revised budget reflecting the lower numbers. CVB
Executive Director Linda Lytle was forced to cut the budget for various
activities to accommodate the change, then present the new $358,500
budget to the board, which voted its approval.
The JCBT did not give us the amount we wanted, but they agreed
to revisit the issue in March after we see how innkeepers taxes do in
the first quarter of this year and they might adjust their contribution,
Lytle said. With all the construction projects going on right
now in the area, we anticipate innkeepers taxes to go up in midweek
Those construction projects include the Milton-Madison Bridge, I.K.E.C.
power plant expansion and the Kings Daughters Hospital &
Health Services campus all of which are expected to increase
occupancy at area hotels.
The JCBTs contribution toward the tourism budget is $247,000 this
year, still up from $241,000 last year. The tourism budget derives its
other income from special events and festivals ($81,000), the citys
contribution ($9,000), the countys contribution ($1,500) and miscellaneous
income ($20,000). The three festivals that operate separately under
the CVBs nonprofit umbrella Ohio River Valley Folk
Festival, Madison Ribberfest and Madison Chautauqua have
their own planning committees, maintain their own operational budgets
and keep their annual profits in a separate bank account. They pay the
CVB board for its services accordingly: Folk ($5,000), Ribberfest ($10,000)
and Chautauqua ($6,000).
Lytle said she would like to have more from the Folk Festival but that
the event does not yet generate enough profit to do so. The Chautauqua
just increased its contribution to the CVB this year by $1,000. But
the event generally breaks even.
Each festival also pays its own committee chair but the salaries are
reflected in the CVBs operational budget because they are considered
contract employees. The Folk Festival director stipend was recently
increased from $6,000 to $8,400. The Ribberfest director received a
16.4 percent raise from $16,320 last year to $19,000 this year. The
Chautauqua coordinator remained the same at $26,500.
The Nights Before Christmas Candlelight Tour of Homes is operated internally
by the CVB staff. Last year, the event only generated $5,575 in profit
for the CVB, down from 2009. The CVB keeps half of the revenue for its
The budget reflects a 3 percent raise for CVB staff and a marketing
budget of $111,000, of which $23,000 is spent on the annual tourism
Both the JCBT and the CVB boards meet separately on the fourth Monday
of each month, and in January, the CVB board also holds its day-long
strategic planning retreat. The JCBT board has invited CVB board members
to its Feb. 21 meeting to discuss better ways of working together.
Some new board members were introduced at the January meeting and new
officer appointments were approved. This years board president
is John Staicer of Historic Madison Inc.; vice president is Rene Stephens
of Holiday Inn Express; treasurer is Jenny Eggenspiller of the City
of Madison staff. The remaining nine board members are Kevin Watkins
of Pets Doc; Peter Woodburn of Woodburn, Kyle & Co.; Bob Schoenstein
of the Madison City Council; and three new board members in Joe Craig
of Craig Toyota; Nathan Montoya of Village Lights Bookstore; and Karen
Hinton of Clifty Inn. The newcomers replaced outgoing board members
Lucy Dattilo, A.J. Mistry and Jim Crone.
other Madison tourism news:
In the wake of the recent death of Folk Festival chairman
John Walburn, the Folk Festival committee received 11 applicants for
the job, interviewed one candidate and hired Madison musician Greg Ziesemer.
He and his wife, Kriss, are scheduled to perform on Sunday of this years
three-day festival. The CVB board approved the hire at its January meeting.
The Folk Festival has hired most of its entertainment lineup
for the May 20-22 event. The list of performers includes Mickey Clark,
Andrienne Young and Little Sadie, The Red Stick Ramblers, The Wiyos,
Paul Thorn, David Bromberg Quartet and Carrie Newcomer. The committee
is planning to add a craft beer tent and competition.
Madison Ribberfest director Kathy Ayers reported an estimated
20 percent increase in wristband sales last summer and an estimated
crowd of 13,000 up from about 11,000 the previous year.
With the festival marking its 10-year anniversary in 2011, some changes
are in store. The balloon glow and races will be dropped and in its
place will be a 10K race and possibly a microbrew tent. The committee
also is considering raising the cost of admission on Friday night and
increasing security between the VIP tents on the hill and the general
admission areas. This years Madison Ribberfest is Aug. 19-20.
Back to February 2011