By Nancy Bowman
Miami County's Visitors and Convention Bureau made two significant changes to its proposed budget for 2018 including testing the benefits of Internet radio, the county commissioners were told during a budget presentation Oct. 25.
Diana Thompson, the bureau's executive director, said decisions to move into internet radio advertising and contract for a new bureau website instead of a previously planned refresh next year sent the proposed budget into a deficit. However, the estimated $9,500 deficit will be covered by reserve funds, she said.
The proposed budget projects $440,400 in revenues and $449,912 in spending. The county's 3 percent lodging tax makes up the bulk of the bureau's income with $430,000 in lodging tax projected for next year. When it comes to spending, more than $280,000 is for marketing including $80,000 for advertising.
The bureau marketing plan states that visitors in 2015 generated $165.8 million in business activity in the county. Thompson said the internet radio advertising will be done through Pandora targeting a market for women 24 to 47. "We are really excited to see what is going to happen with this," she said noting the advertising goal is to drive the listeners to the bureau website.
The board agreed to contract for a new website versus updating the current site that is more than five years old, Thompson said. She also talked with the commissioners about a new event coming this month — the Holiday Welcome Weekend featuring the shops and restaurants in each of the county's five communities Nov. 17-19. Some hotels also are participating offering deals for the weekend, she said.
The commissioners have been meeting with elected officials and department heads on proposed 2018 spending as part of final preparations for 2018 appropriations that will be approved by year's end.
In other business last week, the commissioners:
Authorized the repair of a privately owned pick-up truck that was damaged Sept. 6 while parked at the county sanitary engineering department parking lot when hit by a county owned vehicle. The repair bill is not to exceed $1,677.32. The commission also signed a release of claims between the vehicle owner and the county.
Approved the reappointments of Mary Clevenger and Andrew Johnston to the Miami County Board of Developmental Disabilities and appointment of Ann Runner to the Tri-County Board of Recovery and Mental Health Services.