The Block Island Times

Tourism Council reviews preliminary budget

By Stephanie Turaj | Apr 18, 2013

The Tourism Council’s preliminary budget for fiscal year 2014 is $255,170, an increase from last year’s $240,780 budget.

The council reviewed the budget at its Tuesday, April 9, meeting.

The majority of the Tourism Council’s income comes from a 3 percent tax on hotels. Next year’s projections are for the hotel tax to earn $230,000 in revenue. Tourism Director Jess Willi said this figure is projected with the hopes that the summer will bring a strong tourism season.

Willi also reported that in January 2013, $1,350 was earned in hotel tax income, which is $400 up from last year. “We’re in good shape,” she said.

The council considered ways to boost its income beyond the state hotel tax, such as applying for grants.

“The bottom line is we should be looking to help our income. This becomes a way to reach out,” said secretary Shirley Kessler.

On the expense side, the council has slated $120,300 for advertising. This money would be used for ad space in publications, trade shows, and for Block Island Magazine. The council also hopes to redesign its website within the next year.

The remaining proposed expenses are comprised of administration, payroll and $25,000 in support to the Welcome Center in Old Harbor.

Also at the Tuesday meeting, the Tourism Council approved funding requests. The council agreed to fund $1,000 for a bus tour conference on-island, and $100 toward Christmas lobster pot tree lighting.

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