By PAUL SIMS
The board leading the Starkville Convention and Visitors Bureau (CVB) will turn its attention to budget matters in the coming months, factoring the panelâ€™s annual sponsorship distribution.
The Visitors and Convention Council agreed by consent Wednesday to assemble a budget committee consisting of Jeremiah Dumas, the panelâ€™s chair, Bethany Stich, Michelle Jones and Bill Daniel.
The committee will meet July 20, then ready a budget for consideration â€“ along with the sponsorships â€“ at their Aug. 10 meeting. Last year, the panel distributed $49,500 for 16 different events, functions or needs.
Officials will evaluate this yearâ€™s sponsorship applications to fund different impact tourism in Starkville, looking â€śat their likeliness to increase revenueâ€ť to the cityâ€™s hotel and restaurant taxes, Dumas said after the meeting.
The two forms of tax are split five ways in their distributions â€“ 40 percent to Starkville Parks and Recreation; 20 percent to Mississippi State University Student Affairs; CVB, 15 percent; Oktibbeha County Economic Development Authority, 15 percent and the city of Starkville, 10 percent.
While tourism officials havenâ€™t made funding projections for next year, revenue is tracking about 5 to 10 percent above budgeted revenue, he said.
The CVB budgeted $135,000 from the hotel tax and has received $91,208.19, while they anticipate $200,000 from the food and beverage taxes, which have generated $123,667.62.
Sponsorship applications will be available June 1 through the Greater Starkville Development Partnership. The deadline to submit applications is July 8 at 5 p.m.
In other matters, the Visitors and Convention Council:
u Discussed a plan â€“ which is in the initial stages of development â€“ to train customer service professionals who work front desks at local businesses about area attractions.
u Learned officials have set up Facebook and Twitter accounts to provide all-encompassing information on tourism events as well as businesses and restaurants. The Facebook page is: â€śStarkville: Mississippiâ€™s College Townâ€ť and the Twitter feed is @mscollegetown.
The effort is designed to â€śmeet the demands of the culture change,â€ť Dumas said after he meeting.