TDA to vote on budget

By Jessi Stone Assistant editor | Apr 21, 2013

The Haywood County Tourism Development Authority budget to be voted on Wednesday will help chart the direction of new festivals and programs in the county, or perhaps determine whether others get out of the starting gate.

At a public hearing last week, there were no comments.

The proposed budget denies a $56,000 funding request from Maggie Valley for a winter ice skating rink, eliminates funding for the Melange in the Mountains event, and reduced funding for Folkmoot by $10,000. Funding for the Haywood County Art Council's popular International Day held in downtown Waynesville as part of Folkmoot, which received $11,200 last year, is on hold for this year.

A confirmation show to be put on by the Western Carolina Dog fanciers Association received a no funding recommendation from the Maggie area, but will receive more than $8,000 from the Waynesville zip code committee if the budget is approved as proposed.

Bear Waters Brewing Company received its total request of $3,000 to promote a Waynesville Beer Fest in August, and the Strand Theater 2013-2014 performance series received $1,500, half of the requested amount.

No funds were recommended for WNC Ecofest, a Strand Theater grand opening, and funding was decreased for the Haywood County Fair and the Blue Ridge Breakaway, a popular bicycle event that starts at Lake Junlauska.

Revenues and expenses

The TDA has projected revenue of more than $1 million for 2013-14, with 3 percent of the funds used to fund administration and countywide promotion efforts and 1 percent of the funds returned to each zip code area to use to promote events or advertise the specific town.

New 3-percent requests

TDA Finance Chairman Ken Stahl went over the 3-percent funding requests. Folkmoot USA – NC International Festival didn’t request any money last year but requested $15,940 for next year. The TDA finance committee recommended granting $6,000.

The Haywood Advancement Foundation requested $3,250 for Haywood County farm maps and brochures, and the finance committee recommended granting that entire amount. The Foundation received $1,500 last year after requesting $2,000.

The Town of Maggie Valley requested about $56,000 for an ice skating rink, but the finance committee has recommended not funding it at this point.

“We’re still gathering information and looking at alternatives to that,” Stahl said.

He said the problem was that the $56,000 would be spent just to have a synthetic ice rink open for only 37 days. The town is also looking at building a permanent structure in the future.

“Sounds like a 2-percent project to me,” said TDA board member Samuel Carver. He was referring to the proposed legislation to increase Haywood County’s occupancy tax from 4 percent to 6 percent to fund tourism infrastructure. While many Maggie Valley accommodation owners have been opposed to increasing the tax, Carver said those people needed to realize how much it would help the town.

Another big-ticket item for Maggie is the winter lights project. The Maggie Valley Board of Alderman approved funding about $10,000 for the project and has recommended another $10,000 from the town’s 1-percent funds, which is included in the budget.

Teresa Smith, Maggie Valley Chamber of Commerce director, said the plan was to have winter light displays and decorations from November through February. The lights would be woods themed with deer and bear displays and blue and white lights so it is not just restricted to Christmas time. She said phase one and two of the project would cost about $40,000.

1-percent requests

Maggie’s 1-percent committee recommended how to spend its $121,315 on promotions and advertising, included allocating $20,000 for electrical work and lighting at the festival grounds, $8,000 for the chamber director salary, $2,000 for Maggie Valley Fall Days and $6,370 for WNC BBQ Festival.

Advertising recommendations include spending $3,000 in an Allegiant Air Publication, $8,020 for Southern Living, $2,260 for Red, White & Bloom advertising for 2013, $2,400 in the TDA Travel Planner and $3,000 for print advertising.

Canton’s 1-percent occupancy tax collection amounts to $23,542. The 1-percent subcommittee recommended $2,300 for the corn maize, $5,600 for Mater Fest promotions/$1,400 for tourism related, $900 for the Lake Logan Multisport Festival promotions/$2,100 for tourism related, $3,500 for the county fair, $500 for Blue Ridge Breakaway and $5,000 for the Labor Day Celebration promotions/$500 for tourism related.

Clyde collected $913 and requested about $18,000 this year for the Fines Creek Bluegrass Jam ($500), Blue Ridge Breakaway ($6,000), 2014 WNC Eco Fest ($7,525) and Haywood County Fair ($4,000). The subcommittee recommended $500 for the Bluegrass Jam and $413 for the Blue Ridge Breakaway.

Lake Junaluska collected $24,821 and requested $11,000 be spent on Blue Ridge Breakaway ($6,000), Smoky Mountain Folk Festival ($1,000) and the Haywood County Fair ($4,000). The subcommittee recommended $1,700 for Breakaway, $611 for the folk festival and $500 for the county fair.

Waynesville collected $72,720 and most of the recommended allocations would go to the Downtown Waynesville Association for ads and other promotions. Funding was also requested for the Western Carolina Dog Fanciers Association confirmation show and $2,500 for regional advertising for HART.

The TDA will vote on the budget during a regular board meeting at 2 p.m. April 24 at Bethea Welcome Center at Lake Junaluska.

For more details about the budget and occupancy taxes, visit www.haywoodcountytourismdevelopment.com.

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