Convention Center finances looking better

by The City Wire staff ([email protected]) 74 views 

The Fort Smith Convention Center (FSCC) continues to raise revenues and cut expenses under the management of the Fort Smith Advertising and Promotion (A&P) Commission.

The A&P announced on Tuesday (July 24) at its monthly meeting that it had enacted “a financial improvement of almost 23% for the operation” of the Center during the first six months of fiscal year 2012, according to a news release.

Event revenues for June were $68,830, up $18,862 against June 2011 (approximately 37%). Year-to-date (YTD) revenues are $356,424, up $55,367 against the first six months of last year.

On the expense side, June showed a decline to $122,311, around $3,774 lower than the same 30-day period in 2011 (around 3.09%), while YTD expenses were slashed even further to $598,430 (or 43%). The reduction means the FSCC has needed $15,784 less for operation.

“Current estimates show that the Center’s third quarter performance should be just as strong which should mean a good end of the year report as well. However, while the Center’s getting on a firmer financial footing, the A&P knows that reserves for capital expenses will be increasingly necessary,” said Tim Seeberg, chief operating officer of the FSCC.

Fort Smith Mayor Sandy Sanders, who is a member of the A&P Commission, shared his encouragement.

“It’s the goal of the A&P to continue to increase revenues and identify additional cost savings while maintaining and operating a quality facility. We’re happy to see these kinds of positive results in this relatively short period of time,” Sanders said.

June revenues for the FSCC owed much to two events in particular.

The first, on June 9, was the United Methodist Conference, which brought in $26,728. The second, on June 29, was the annual convention of the Christian Congregation of Jehovah’s Witnesses (CCJW), which added another $14,900.

The remaining $27,202 was spread out over 12 additional events.

Convention Center revenues have gone up every month of 2012 with the exception of May when activities took a dip to $23,321 from $37,307 the year before. The $18,862 improvement makes up for last month’s loss while continuing YTD improvements.

In fact, when comparing YTD total revenues for the first six months with all of last year ($482,373 total), the $356,424 number for 2012 is less than $130,000 from matching the full 12-month period during 2011.

Also Tuesday, Seeberg announced that the FSCC plans to complete its benchmarking project “by the middle of August.” The information center employees are now collecting will be used to compare the FSCC’s performance against other locations throughout the country of comparable size.

Seeberg said he expects audit results from the International Association of Venue Managers (IAVM) by the “first part of 2013.”

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