Lodging nights and room tax revenue up

A $1.2 million Carson City Convention & Visitors Bureau budget for next year cleared another hurdle and $30,000 for V&T Railway bond payments this year also was approved Monday.

The bureau’s board unanimously approved the Fiscal Year 2014-15 master budget report from Joel Dunn, executive director, and will rubber stamp the spending blueprint in another meeting at 4 p.m. on Friday. That session is at the Visitor Bureau building, 1900 S. Carson St.

The budget and revenue data provided by Dunn shows a $1.2 million spending guide, $1.3 million in anticipated revenues and carryover from this fiscal year of $485,000.

That takes into account almost $295,000 more in revenue expected for FY 2013-14 before the year ends June 30, as well as outgo anticipated to include the $30,000 payment approved for Carson City’s government to help service V&T bonded indebtedness. The bureau payment was anticipated because it helps the city with $100,000 annually on the debt and had paid just $70,000 of it earlier.

Dunn said an agreement reached in 2005 committed the bureau to provide $100,000 annually for two decades, though he also noted more had been supplied to city government during the lean years of the recent recession.

“So we’re obligated for the $100,000 through 2025,” Dunn said.

Dunn said lodging and the tax that provides the bulk of bureau funding are up compared with recent years. For example, he said, the top five lodging properties in March had overall revenue of $635,691, up from $614,232 last year and $536,794 the previous year. He said room rates were over $60 per night at properties and more than $75 nightly at the top five, the latter a 2.7 percent hike from last year.

“Certainly we’re seeing some pretty positive impacts,” he said, noting he looks forward to what comes in 2015.

Dunn also told the board he intends to draft a proposal to have recreational vehicles that come in for special events and stay on city property, such as at parks, charged an equivalent lodging tax amount in a bid to add to the bureau’s revenue stream.

The director reported on social media marketing as well. He said there has been good outreach to targeted audiences in San Francisco, Portland and Sacramento regarding mountain biking, golfing and dining in Carson City. He said the marketing on Facebook cost less than a penny per hit. “We’re certainly seeking some pretty positive play,” he said.


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