By LeeAnn Cain / Staff Writer
While no action was taken at Monday’s meeting of the London Tourism and Convention Commission, a rough draft of a budget was presented by Commission Member Mackey Williams.
The income projected from the restaurant tax is $2.1 million, although Williams said the income included in the rough draft was about 25 percent below actual projections in case revenue falls short. Also included in the budget is an estimate of $642,000 to be set aside for future projects.
The budget is not finalized, and it cannot be established until the city’s new restaurant tax kicks in July 1. Williams said the estimated budget was drawn up using sales from restaurants that sold alcohol, which were the only restaurants with budgets the commission could access.
Commission Member Troy House questioned the projected $10,000 for marketing, as well as a lack of advertisement or event insurance in the projected expenses. Mayor Troy Rudder mentioned the city has a blanket insurance policy in terms of event insurance.
Williams added the projects undertaken by city tourism should be “high profile” projects such as upgrading the London Farmer’s Market and finishing the Whitley Branch Wetlands Project.
House also presented a job description for the new executive director for city tourism. The description was a rough draft and has not yet been completed, but it included a list of qualifications and required skills for potential applicants.
“It’s chunky but it covers everything,” House said.
Commission Member Holly Little suggested the final description include the ability to write grants.
Rudder informed the commission he was still looking to appoint a replacement for Jason Handy, who resigned in February due to a conflict of interest from his position on London City Council. Rudder said he had received suggestions from county tourism Chairman Tom Handy, but was open to suggestions for anyone willing to take a position on city tourism.
London-Laurel County Tourism Director Rodney Hendrickson and London Downtown Director Chris Robinson updated the commission on county tourism activities, namely the success of the Redubd Ride and the upcoming Archery Shooters Association Pro/Am tournament.
“We put on a really good show,” Robinson said of the Redbud Ride. “It was wonderful for the local community.”
Hendrickson said the Redbud Ride had cyclists from as far away as Canada, and in the feedback he received many participants said the Redbud Ride was the best bicycle ride in the country.
“It’s surreal how the Redbud Ride has grown from its humble beginnings in 2008,” Hendrickson said. “It’s something I’m proud of and you should be too.”
Hendrickson said the next big tourism event would be the Archery Shooters Association Pro/Am tournament, which will take place May 30-June1. Hendrickson said this is the largest 3D archery tournament in the world, with nearly 1,700 competitors vying for prize money totaling $80,000. Hendrickson said the event brings in enough people to fill hotels from Jellico, Tenn., to Berea.
He added city tourism should do something with downtown London, such as a block party, to attract visitors on Friday, May 30 — the night before the competition.
The final update Hendrickson gave was on the Shriner’s Bluegrass Festival, which will take place May 16. He said he learned the festival was going to be broadcast worldwide on armed forces’ radios.