Friday, April 4, 2003
The visitors bureau finally has a new director.
By STEPHEN SIFF
VINDICATOR TRUMBULL STAFF
WARREN -- Citing budget shortfalls, Trumbull County commissioners have eliminated subsidies for Cafaro Field, the LPGA golf tournament and the Warren Philharmonic.
Until last year, commissioners had contributed $50,000 a year from the county's general fund to Cafaro Field, $27,500 to the Giant Eagle LPGA Classic and $5,000 for the orchestra. The money was given to the Trumbull County Convention and Visitors Bureau, which then paid the various organizations.
"This year, we are not going to give anything to anybody," said Commissioner James Tsagaris.
Last year, there was no funding for the orchestra, Cafaro Field was cut to $35,000, and the golf tournament was cut to $15,000.
The convention and visitors bureau paid the rest of the tab for the golf tournament from its own funds, collected from the county's 2.5 percent tax on hotel rooms.
The CVB board has not discussed if it might again use its own funds, said secretary/treasurer Nick Perod.
The bureau is already paid up for this summer's tournament, June 9-15, and is contracted to continue its sponsorship for one more year, said tournament director Tim Wicinski.
The annual contribution to Cafaro Field has been used for games and concerts that draw thousands of people a year to the county, said Anthony Cafaro Jr., Cafaro Co. vice president.
Baseball games alone attract 200,000 people a year, and occasional concerts attract tens of thousands more, he said.
The company might spend $100,000 to market a single event, he said.
"We understand the budgetary constraints the county is under and we obviously are going to do what we can to bring people and tax money into the county," Cafaro said. "We will try to seek other ways to promote the facility."
The Convention and Visitors Bureau expects to collect $323,000 from the bed tax next year. About $118,000 of that is for salaries and benefits for two full-time employees and one part-timer.
The bureau pays $1,950 a month rent, plus $175 a month for housekeeping for offices on Youngstown-Warren Road in Niles.
By law, revenue from the bed tax can be used only to promote tourism.
Last month, the bureau board promoted sales manager Theresa Kirkland to interim director and increased her salary from $37,200 to $43,000. The bureau has suspended its search for a new director until Kirkland demonstrates how she can handle the job, Perod said.
Kirkland, of Newton Falls, has been with the bureau since 1999. She previously worked in sales for American Express Corporate and Travelers Services and is active in the Western Reserve Tourism Council.
The bureau has been without a director two years.