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Friday, November 27, 2009

Visitors Association Adjusting To Financial Limits

dec5pcvacoverPotter County Visitors Association nears the start of a new year with continued adjustments due to financial limits. One tradition continues, however. Some 40,000 copies of the Visitors Guide, 40-page, full-color booklet, will be available by February.

Emphasis is on opportunities for hunting, fishing, geocaching, and both downhill and x-country skiing. There’s also a “lodging amenity chart” and a directory of PCVA businesses/members.

Cover design is by Deb Plummer. Photograph, depicting Berger Lake in Galeton, is by Curt Weinhold. Sale of advertising space is winding down. For more information, call 814-274-3365 or send an email to dbrooks@visitpottercounty.com. PCVA membership roster is nearing 200. Additional information is available on the internet at VisitPotterCounty.com.

The state’s 2009-10 budget contains $4,925 for PCVA. That compares to $13,355 last year and $34,652 in 2007. Majority of PCVA’s operating expenses comes from a three-percent tax on hotel, motel and bed and breakfast room rentals. That accounted for $65,400 in revenue for fiscal 2008-09. Membership fees brought about $10,500. God’s Country Marathon entry fees and sponsorships generated $12,900 and cooperative advertising revenue was about $7,600.

Among the organization’s major expenses were salaries and wages ($38,500), advertising ($17,000), promotional expenses ($12,400), rent/utilities ($10,300), insurance ($9,100), travel ($8,200), printing ($8,000), membership dues and subscriptions ($7,500). Potter County Today

40 comments :

Anonymous said...

Do we really need the PCVA ?Looks like they are operating in the red !

Anonymous said...

They don't support Potter County Business people!!!

Anonymous said...

Who else is going to promote Potter County? If we do not promote what we have to offer, people will just go elsewhere. I believe they are doing a good job.

Anonymous said...

I agree they are doing a good job. The numbers here are obviously not the entire budget but just some parts of it. I am sure if you called or sent email they would give you all of the figures.

Anonymous said...

For the amount of time put in to this I think $38,500 is way to much for salaries. I would love to make that much a year.

Anonymous said...

I know it adds value to my businnes. Thanks

Anonymous said...

That salary figure included 2 full-time employees didn't it? Later the staff was cut to just one. We are lucky to have a visitor's assn.

Mr Realistic said...

Just think...if we eliminate the salary, rent, utilities, insurance , and travel it would save the county roughly $66,000 and we would actually be making money. I don't see where they contribute that much to the county economy.

Anonymous said...

You wouldn't save anything. County doesn't fund the PCVA.....you eliminate the PCVA then you eliminate the taxes collected that fund them. In other words, you can't use the 66k for other county activities. The enabling act which provides for the room tax is quite specific on the use of the funds collected. Join the PCVA, get on the board of directors, and move to disband it if it displeases you so.

Mr Realistic said...

I didn't indicate that we should eliminate the PCVA....just the unneeded costs associated with it. Why is there nearly $700 per month spent on travel and what sort of insurance costs $750 per month? Wouldn't advertising and promotional expenses be considered the same thing? Sorry....but these figures just don't add up to me.

Anonymous said...

I agree with 12:45. These figures don't don't add up. This should be investigated if there's a place to save money this would be it!

Anonymous said...

Mr Realistic I agree with your posts, when you question what sort of insurance costs 750.00 a month my first thought is...this is probable insurance on the PCVA building, contents and or health insurance for the people that work there. I could be wrong but that is what I thought when I saw the annual figure.

Anonymous said...

Must be health insurance, no way liability or building insurance would cost that much.

Maybe the PCVA should take a look at alternative advertising and printing providers. I'm curious to know who they use now.

Do they support local businesses?

I shall find out.

Anonymous said...

health insurance.

again, if you want a voice in the activities in the PCVA then join, get elected to the board by the other members, and have at it.

the pcva answers to it's members and does not need to answer directly to a citizen off the street.

just because an entity name has "Potter County" in it's name doesn't mean its a defacto government entity.......do you think you have the right to dictate operations of Potter County Outfitters, Potter County Beverage, Potter County Campground, etc......

as to other individual expenses.....travel is expected as the employees spend 4 months of the year on the road attending travel and outdoor shows promoting the area. printing is not excessive when you consider they print over 40,000 travel guides, numerous banners for the marathon and other events, etc. the current board has at least 4 members who are cpas or accounting professionals. the books are clean and expenses justified.

the organization attempts to use local resources whenever available and possible but unfortunately not all local service providers have the sense of urgency that is required.

criticism can be constructive, but lets get hold of the facts before we criticize.

Anonymous said...

You people who are self-appointed accountants need to read this: THESE ARE NOT COMPLETE NUMBERS, just some of the categories. See the contact information in this story? If you want more information or even all the numbers then use them and you can get some answers to your questions instead of just speculating here. I do not have a dog in this hunt but it is just plain stupid to see people commenting when they do not have the information they need to reach any conclusions. That is one irritating part of this blog site.

Anonymous said...

It says (among the organizations major expenses)so is whats listed all the expenses or are there more ? I would like to see a comeplete detailed listing of income and expenses.

Anonymous said...

To 12:13 do you know what "among" means? It does not mean "all." Call or send an email to David and I am sure he will provide you with the information and maybe a dictionary too!

Anonymous said...

"I would like to see a comeplete detailed listing of income and expenses"........

are you a member??? if not then you have no right to.... although i am sure they would be more than willing to show you the books.

lets not confuse a non profit organization with a government entity. they are not one in the same.

Mr Realistic said...

"are you a member??? if not then you have no right to.... "

This is complete and utter BS...non-profit or not, the PCVA get's a portion of it's funding from PA state taxes which means that we have every right to see where OUR money is being used. I'll quit questioning the PCVA as soon as they quit taking MY tax money and spending it.

Anonymous said...

You are so right 7:12 PM

Anonymous said...

If they get public funds from the state and the hotel and motel tax then I think their books cannot be kept secret but I don't think they would want to keep them secret anyhow.

Onward and Upward said...

Please give Mr Realistic his 2cents back for his contribution to the PCVA, so we can all move on to solving the problems outlined by Theodore R. Alter in the above article.

Hey Paul, next time........

The original article should have ended at the end of the third pagraph. Sure it's public information,but make them work for it. Let them get in their car and actually have to put out effort if they are so civic minded.

Publishing numbers only casuses strife amoungst the children.

Anonymous said...

I see no reason why david shouldn't put it all on this site!

Anonymous said...

Actually David and his small crew have done a very good job for the tourism in potter county!Myself and the other snowmobile clubs,along with other organizations have worked with these people and they have done the best they can with their budgets!David has worked very hard @ this venture with very little money and have made a difference!Keep up the good work guys!P.S. You couldn't buy a pickup with what David makes there! Brad

visitpottercounty said...

The numbers reported here are from the PCVA FY 08-09' independent auditors report. They include travel, salaries, and health insurance for 2 people (up until Dec 08') when the other employee was laid off due to our funding issue.
Salary figures include 2 people for 6 months, 1 person for 6 months. My salary is $26,698/year plus health insurance, but of my own decision, I have given up having health insurance to save PCVA money since around Feb 09'.
In addition to health insurance that insurance figure includes Board of Director Liability and workers comp insurance.
As far as our travel, the majority of those funds included travel and hotel for regional travel shows (these costs were reimbursed by PA Wilds). We also take our booth to over 10 local events. The line item also includes miscellaneous travel to educational conferences and general business around the county.
The Visitors Guide is the largest printing we do on a yearly basis. There are no actual 4-color commercial printers in Potter County that can handle the guide, local companies have to send the job (and the money) out of the county anyway as basically middlemen. We still give everyone who wants, an opportunity to submit a quote. We then choose the best value. I have the quotes from the last guide we did, if anyone would like to see that, it includes proposals from local printers.
The only vendors we do not bid out every time are our bookkeeper and graphic designer for consistency purposes. But any fee changes are approved by the PCVA Board of Directors. All potential conflicts of interest are declared according to our by-laws every year.
I should also point out that while we do have decreased funds, it is not entirely economy related. Last year, DCED changed our funding formula to favor those areas with 1000’s of hotel rooms. They claim those areas contribute the most to the state tourism economy, so they should receive the most tourism funding. But when it comes to the logging industries and potential gas production contribution from our area, they certainly do not have the same opinion.
DCED also likes to claim that the funding is based on which county has the best marketing score (therefore the best use of the tax money), I scored 15th in the state out of 49 other organizations with the Potter County Marketing Plan I submitted, we were cut 60% for that effort. Even the Poconos were cut simply because even they do not have the hotel rooms compared to Philly, Pittsburgh, etc. and they are perhaps the most known tourism destination in the state.
If anyone wants to help make PCVA better, start bringing those little facts up to our legislators and help us get the formula changed.
If you want to see detail budget or any other type of information please email me at dbrooks@visitpottercounty.com. I have never rejected an info request from anyone.
Thanks everyone for your supportive comments.
David Brooks
Executive Director

Anonymous said...

Much appreciation to David Brooks for sharing that interesting information.

Anonymous said...

Many for profit entities that are privately owned receive tax funding and yet you have no right to inspect their books.

Tell you what........ why don't you ask farmers that receive price support payments or CREP payments to see their books and see how they respond. All the senior citizens that collect SS, or welfare recipients, or kids who receive subsidized school lunches receiver your tax dollars but yet you have no right to inspect their financial information.

do you own a home and take a mortgage deduction....that is subsidized by a taxpayer who does not.....so let me see your tax return, Mr Realistic.

Anonymous said...

Here is the deal...
I don't have a horse in this race other than my opinion.
I would like to commend Mr. Brooks for his blog and setting things straight.
I would like to question the motives behind the blogger that felt it was his duty to defend the Association as if he was the person tasked by the board to do so.If you are a board member you should refrain from acting as the Press Secretary, as you do more harm than good for this organization.
Try not to bite the hand that feeds you.
Again,good job to Mr. Brooks for being open and transparent.This is what is needed now days!

Anonymous said...

5:46 - assuming I have identified the posts to which you speak I'm not sure it was a defense of PCVA as opposed to pointing out that as a technical matter I don't think the PCVA association is subject to various sunshine laws. Therefore, these people "demanding" to see the books don't have a leg to stand on (fortunately david has made this a moot point). The PCVA while somewhat of a hybrid is basically a non profit corp, but not a government entity. It's only government taint is that the Commissioners have to identify one entity to be the official Tourism promotion agency for the county and the PCVA has been the one selected.

Why is this important? Because I feel the PCVA gets constantly ripped and one of the likely reasons is people assume its "the government" and as we all know here in Potter County "the government is bad".

But let me put it another way......the charter of the PCVA is NOT to please the citizens of Potter County it is to serve it's business members. So one could be justified in telling those that are not members to shut the hell up and go away. Fortunately, this is not David's policy.

Anonymous said...

Lets try this another way so that you can get a grasp on your socialist views.
This association is just about entirely funded by tax dollars and moneys collected by local goverment taxes.
This means that someone else is footing the bill to have private business advertised and promoted.
That in turn means that the tourist business is getting a free ride on their advertisement bill while all other business has to pay for its own.
Because I am being forced to give MY money (That is what government money is...MY MONEY) to these businesses,then I think you should shut the hell up and take the gift,cause as you can see from the story ,it can quickly go away.
I think Mr. Brooks understands this and is not trying to misrepresent anything,and would like to please the citizens by showing them THEIR money is being spent in a worthwhile way.
If Mr. Brooks had your attitude about MY money,I bet most would agree that this organization should not recieve OUR money and should instead collect from the people it is promoting and spend THEIR money

I can only hope for Mr. Brooks sake that your attitude is not contageous,as this could bring a fast end to any support from the citzens of Potter County.(You know...The ones paying the bill)
This was not a slam on the Organization,just the person that thinks he is their representative.

Anonymous said...

The one's paying the bill are those that pay membership dues and the customers that stay at certain lodging establishments within Potter County and therefore pay the tax. In other words, the NON residents of Potter County. The citizens of Potter County do not fund the substantial majority of the PCVA. David's task is simple it is to promote tourism for Potter County to the benefit of it's due paying members. Nothing more. It has absolutely nothing to do with pleasing the citizens of potter county unless of course they are members of the organization. It is corporation organized under state laws and is accountable to it's shareholders which are it's members and NOT the citizens of Potter County. It is no different than IBM, Google, or any other corporation. I am not a member of the organization and therefore cannot be a representitive of the organization.

I'm sorry that you know not of what you speak.

Anonymous said...

I can see by all the side stepping that a nerve has been hit!

Anonymous said...

Lets see..
$52,000 in the last 3 years straight from the state coffers.Followed by $64,000 (just in the last year) from a room tax implimented and collected by Potter County.
I would say that makes the people of this state and this county the majority shareholders.They asked some questions and Mr. Brooks was smart enough to give them the answers.
Once again every company you mentioned as being the same as the association is only in your socialist dream.You see,they are in business for profit and suceed or fail on their own nickel.They pay into the coffers and are of no concern to the taxpayers.

Anonymous said...

Lets see....first we take the state money of 52k. Potter County makes up .001606 of the state population so it's fair to say that Potter County citizens contributed 83.52 of that amount. The 64k is collected by the Potter County lodging facilities from travelers staying in Potter County. I doubt many of the people staying at Potter County lodging establishments are Potter County residents. So again the residents of Potter County are not paying the bills and are MOST CERTAINLY not the shareholders. I can identify the shareholders ......they are the members of the association as per state law. Don't confuse shareholders with stakeholders. You must answer to the former and not necessarily the latter.

As a matter of law the corporations mentioned are nearly identical in that they are organized under state statutes that are very similar. Moreover, if you do not think the entities named accept tax dollars than there is no hope here. Have you ever heard of the foreign sales corp regime whereby the US used to subsidize the sales of US companies overseas. Or the current section 199 manufacturing deduction that subsidizes "manufacturing activities" but not service activites. Yet another example....if you rent a home but send your kids to public schools and i own a home then my tax dollars are paying for your kids education but yet i have no right to see your financial information.

The point is and it's been made in the majority of my points as a matter of law I do not believe the citizens of Potter County can "demand" to see the books of the PCVA as the initial posters stated they were going to do. I totally agree that full disclosure as David has done is appropriate and you will find that reiterated in my previous posts.

Anonymous said...

Excuse me but there has been no full disclosure by David. Some things never change you gotta love Potter County !

Anonymous said...

Tax dollars are tax dollars and you can't spin it any other way.
You sir have only managed once again to prove you are a socialist or a lawyer.
But never fear in just a few short months the beginning of the end of this attitude will be here.Common sense and some serious house cleaning will make your kind just another unbelievable footnote.

Anonymous said...

7:55:00 PM

Well said!

Anonymous said...

Socialist or lawyer for pointing out that an organization may not be subject to the state sunshine laws???? That's quite a leap. Funny then that all the Republicans of which I am sure take my money when it comes to campaign contribution time.

Anonymous said...

I think common sense and house cleaning means both partys.Those that have shown a desire to use their common sense will remain,those that are on board with the tax and spend bunch will not.Common sense says that if you have someone elses money you are held accountable.Only those that wish to disguise it's use would have need of of a hiding place.That bring us to socialists,lawyers(for helping twist reality)and crooked elected officals.
It appears Mr. Brooks made the decision to answer some questions because it seemed like the right thing to do.He didn't need your back door exit of hiding behind the Sunshine Laws.He just used common sense and sound judgement.
I think the Common Sense party is about to take back this country.

Anonymous said...

There is more to reading than just looking at letters and trying to pronounce them aloud.Comprehension is a vital part.

Try to comprehend the following.....every person, association, corporation on this planet accepts tax dollars in one form or the other. Every One!!!!
Ever drive on a road, attend school, picnic in a park. Therefore, according to your arguments every single person, association, corporation, entity would have to make all of their information public. Every one. I'm sorry my friend that is much more socialistic than anything I have said.

Totally agree with you that David used common sense and sound judgement......Also agree that both parties need the boot.