Colorado Springs’ convention and visitors bureau will not be able to retain $142,494 it owes the city government under a recommendation the City Council will consider today.
Two weeks ago, Terry Sullivan, president and CEO of Experience Colorado Springs, the convention and visitors bureau, asked the council for permission to keep a portion of the $342,494 it owes the city to wage a marketing campaign in Texas and possibly northern Colorado to counter the negative publicity that has hit Colorado Springs in recent months.
“With the much of the unfortunate national media attention being given to Colorado Springs, it is a time where I believe marketing is more important than ever before,” Sullivan said today. “So in order to assure that we have a good, strong summer, advertising of the destination is essential.”
Every year, the city establishes a contract with the bureau based on estimated Lodgers and Auto Rental Tax revenue. The city pays the bureau monthly based on that contract.
In 2009, the estimates were too high.
A reconciliation of estimated versus actual revenue showed that the bureau owes $342,494 because the estimated revenue exceeded actual revenue for 2009, documents state.
The city administration is recommending that the council deny the bureau’s request and collect the entire amount that’s owed.
“Providing this additional funding would require general fund reductions of the same amount,” Terri Velasquez, the city’s chief financial officer, said in a report to the council.
Sullivan said the administration’s recommendation doesn’t give him “much hope.”
Velasquez said the bureau could use its reserves to pay for the proposed marketing plans.
But Sullivan seemed reluctant to do that, saying the bureau has about $1 million in reserves but will have even less if it pays the city the $342,494 in LART money.
“We like to keep that cushion there,” he said.