Tupelo CVB passes ‘conservative’ budget

TUPELO – The Tupelo Convention & Visitors Bureau board Monday passed a fiscal year 2011 budget of $3.53 million, down 1.8 percent from the previous year.
The budget goes before the City Council tonight.
The CVB board factored in slower growth of tourism sales tax revenues, which are generated from a 2 percent sales tax on hotels, motels and restaurants. The 2010 budget was based on a forecasted 3 percent growth. The FY2011 budget is based on a forecasted 1 percent growth.
As of Aug. 31, the 2010 sales tax revenues are up 3.9 percent from previous year. For August, which represents money spent in June, the CVB reported a growth of 9.1 percent.
Neal McCoy, the executive director of the CVB, at the monthly board meeting described the budget as “conservative.”
The budget includes the CVB’s $1 million annual commitment for the BancorpSouth Arena. Other line items include $150,000 for an expansion at the Elvis Presley Birthplace; $261,500 for its sports marketing and development program and $100,000 for the Tupelo Film Commission.
The board followed the city’s lead and did not give pay raises in the 2011 budget.
McCoy said the CVB is saving money in the personnel department because of a realignment of staff members.
“It was really just a cleaning up of job titles and job descriptions,” McCoy said. “We wanted to give everybody a clear focus on what they needed to be doing.”
Added Stephanie Moody-Coomer, the new deputy director, “As the bureau started to grow, people started to pick up tasks. This cleans things up.”
Two months ago, Moody-Coomer, who was the CVB’s marketing director, became the CVB’s deputy director, which is the No. 2 position in the CVB and was a title held by McCoy before he became executive director July 1.
Sean Johnson, formerly the CVB’s special projects manager, now is the marketing director.
Valerie Bradley, formerly the receptionist, has been promoted to office manager.
Sharon McKissick, formerly the motorcoach manager, now is a sales manager.
Kara Penny, previously a sales assistant and fulfillment specialist, now is a sales manager.
The CVB also hired two part-time administrative assistants: Yolonda Gilbert and Pam Crippin, who start work this week.

Contact Carlie Kollath at (662) 678-1598 or carlie.kollath@djournal.com.

CARLIE KOLLATH / NEMS Daily Journal