RUTHERFORDTON– Rutherford County Tourism Development Authority (TDA) Director Don Cason announced at the Board of Directors meeting last week that occupancy tax payments are up by 47.34% compared to last year. The $430,558 increase was attributed to the nearby Polk County World Equestrian Games last fall and the 1 percent occupancy tax increase approved by RC commissioners last year.
Cason projected that this year’s marketing and advertising costs to be $37,000 less than budget. Once again the TDA is outsourcing its marketing department having hired The Agency out of Charlotte. Amy Brevard, the former marketing manager at TDA, recently left the organization for a public relations job at the hospital. In April The Agency suggested “Simple Times” as its marketing campaign theme. In May the theme had been changed to “Moments that Matter.”
There will be fewer travel guide publications printed this year. This will further reduce the advertising costs to the TDA. At the end of the year Cason expects a cash fund balance of $945,334.30.
“The fund balance will be earmarked for future implementation of (the) Tourism Strategic Plan and so forth,” Cason said. There was no mention of any local projects such as a dog park, soccer fields or dedicated promotion of local venues.
In the April 4, 2019 minutes it was noted that the TDA voted to discontinue any legal action against J.M. Teague Engineering who had made a costly error to the organization. TDA board chair Willard Whitson stated, “Our attorney advised it would simply cost more than it was worth.”
Also in the minutes was a report that TDA and the Tourist Asset Foundation to partner in the Tourism Master Plan funding Campaign. TAF is to evaluate internal processes, accountability and fundraising efforts. Currently the TDA funds TAF $10,000 making the TDA a primary contributor.
TAF added added an artistic showcase for singer-songwriters who are selected for the Gold Album being developed by Deborah Millikan and Rick Scott. RCTAF receives a portion of proceeds from each streaming of this single on Spotify.
The TDA staff participated in the Trash Pick-up in May sponsored by Keep Rutherford County Beautiful initiative. The staff picked up 48 bags of trash weighing approximately 6 tons.
The Agency reported their website analytics,
The board approved an audit contract with Gould Killian CPA Group.