Corinth Area CVB open to compromise on budget

By Lena Mitchell/NEMS Daily Journal Corinth Bureau

CORINTH – Members of the Corinth Area Convention and Visitors Bureau board are prepared to compromise amid tensions with members of the Alcorn County and Corinth city boards over transfer of $250,000 of their budget to another agency.
The CVB board at a Thursday meeting postponed any decision about submitting a revised budget to the county and city for consideration until they have carefully reviewed their Fiscal Year 2012 budget, the $567,000 budget submitted for FY 2013 and the law governing the 2 percent tourism tax that funds the agency.
A minority of county and city board members have been pressuring the CVB to divert $250,000 from its budget to the Crossroads Arena. Both the CVB and the arena are recipients of proceeds from a 2 percent tourism tax. The arena’s portion of the tax is designated to pay the note on the arena building and other capital expenses. The Corinth Area Tourism Promotion Council/ CVB’s 1 percent is designated “for the purpose of providing funds for the promotion of tourism.” Operations at the arena – a jointly-owned facility of the county and city – have been funded through the two bodies’ budgets.
In discussions Thursday about ways the CVB could support the arena without destroying their own budget, CVB Executive Director Kristy White, who manages the agency’s budget backed by board treasurer Glennan Grady, said they could help with $100,000 to $125,000 for the arena. The CVB’s FY 2012 budget included $50,000 for the arena, but the arena used only $20,000 of those funds.
While county and city board members want the CVB to commit $250,000 to the arena, they also are demanding that the CVB use $50,000 of its remaining funds for local events they have previously funded.
After learning that $250,000 of the CVB budget could be at risk, the CVB rallied about 30 groups that it has funded annually to appeal to the county and city leaders to leave the CVB’s funding support unchanged.
Those pleas were heard, but rather than retreating from their position, Board of Supervisors President Lowell Hinton referred to the CVB as using “scare tactics” in its lobbying efforts, and the county and city board members raised the demand, adding the $50,000 stipulation.
No one from either the county or city boards discussed their proposed CVB budget changes with anyone from the CVB board as their plans were evolving, and CVB board members said they need more information and time to consider ramifications of budget changes before reaching a decision.
lena.mitchell@journalinc.com