July 22, 2013 9:36:00 AM
Nathan Gregory - [email protected]
The Columbus-Lowndes Convention and Visitors Bureau Board of Directors will hold its monthly meeting Tuesday to be followed by its annual retreat, where members will discuss the budget for the upcoming fiscal year as well as a strategic plan.
An agenda for the regular meeting scheduled to begin at 8:30 a.m. at the Burnt Oak Lodge in Crawford states the board members will re-elect officers before going into executive session, after which discussion will be held regarding executive director Nancy Carpenter's contract.
The board is then scheduled to review two project clearance reports -- one for Grilling on the River and the other for Market Street Festival. Grilling on the River was awarded an $8,000 Quality of Life grant and received half that amount before the event. Based on the clearance report the board can award up to the remaining $4,000 balance. It will have the same option for Market Street Festival, except as a tourism event, that festival is eligible for up to $7,500 in second-installment funding.
Board members are expected to approve the budget for Fiscal Year 2014, which Carpenter said was approximately $1.5 million. Discussion will also be held on the current budget, she said.
"Our budget process this year is going extremely well. We'll meet budget. That's one thing that I'm determined is going to take place," she said. "We were probably only off on our estimated revenue by $5,000. In an unknown world, that's pretty good."
Financial consultant Don Anderson will be on hand to guide the board through its strategic planning process, which helps establish long-term goals and how to meet them, Carpenter said.
The annual retreat provides board members with an opportunity to openly discuss how the previous year has gone and what areas need to be improved upon but also to have dialogue on successes of the staff and board, she said.
"This has been a very good year for us as far as revenue. I think we've done wonderful advertising and getting the word out about Columbus being open for business 365 days a year. Hence, we've had visitors from every state in the United States and over 50 countries," she said. "I think there's been a concerted effort to make sure that happens."
No choice yet for board vacancy
For the second straight meeting, the usual nine-member board will be minus one after Columbus Mayor Robert Smith and Lowndes County Board President Harry Sanders removed Harvey Myrick from the board on June 11. Sanders said reasons for his firing stemmed from Myrick's involvement with Grilling on the River, which he founded in 2006, five years before he was appointed to the CVB board. Myrick handed the reins of the festival off to Chuck Cook in February of this year, but Sanders said after his removal that Myrick was still heavily involved with the festival in more than a volunteer role, which created a conflict of interest as the event received CVB funding earlier this year.
Sanders said he and Smith had discussed potential candidates for replacing Myrick but have not agreed yet on a selection. There is no set timeline for naming a replacement, Sanders said.
Sanders said one person he has pushed for is Charles Miller, who is currently a member of the Lowndes County Port Authority board and a courthouse bailiff, while one of Smith's recommendations was Ralph McClain, who owns Columbus-based communication device provider Teletec. Sanders said McClain indicated he was not interested in the position, however.
"I thought Charles Miller would be a good choice," Sanders said. "He's very aware of what's going on in the community."
Sanders said he and Smith each had a list of people they were interested in two years ago when they ultimately chose Myrick. Myrick was on Smith's list, Sanders said.
"I think it's time he picked somebody off my list, and my list is Charles Miller," Sanders said. "That's who I'm holding out for right now."
Attempts to reach Smith on Friday were unsuccessful. Myrick's seat is the only one on the CVB board appointed by Smith and Sanders.
In the event the board members come to a 4-4 deadlock on any action, there is no tie-break and the motion fails without a majority. The board did not tie on any votes during their June meeting.
Nathan Gregory covers city and county government for The Dispatch.