So. You, the Somervell County taxpayer, are subsidizing the Expo Center and Amphitheatre to the tune of over $600,000 per year. Let's repeat that another way. The Expo Center and Amphitheatre are not making a profit or even breaking even and in order to get even, it takes over 600,000 a year.
Walter Maynard, at the last County Commissioner's meeting on April 12 2010 said that with costs rising and revenue dropping, that they might not be able to continue the loss leaders whose purpose is to bring business into the community, particularly because the county doesn't get the tax like the city and cvb does. He went on to say that he was not interested in the 4-b proposal to do an $80,000 *bridge* loan which the county would have to quickly pay back. Here's from when this was talked about before.
About this RV project. The idea, of course, is to put RV spaces someplace around the Expo Center close enough to make it convenient for horse-walking. I seem to remember being at the county commissioners meeting when this first came up, before there were ANY RV spaces around the Expo and as I remember it (I could be wrong) the idea was that there were only going to, reluctantly, be a very few. What happened is that an rfp was put out for a rodeo in the years 2011 and 2012 and it was so good that the rodeo association asked for it in 2010, also, contingent on hwaving 100 RV spaces available for the participants.
What came out this week is that the rfp was apparently even lower than other shows could expect. And there was a reference to the CVB actually paying for the association to do something organizationally out here (not clear to me if this meant they are moving their business to Somervell County or simply having a meeting). I am making the point here that this rodeo proposal is a loss-leader, designed only to bring more business to the community while having the rodeo pay a low rate, and get at least one major item paid for by taxpayer money. To add to this, Judge Maynard indicated that, while he wasn't going to take out a 4-B loan from the city, if the money is moved around in order to put in RV spaces, it will probably mean a property tax increase next year, albeit small.
I recall at a recent City Council meeting ">that Billy Huckaby said that the Expo Center is only for livestock. Really? Why is our viewpoint of how the expo center is being used so rodeo-centric? Yesterday, Mike Dooley and Judge Maynard both indicated that costs are up and revenues are down for the Expo Center. I haven't tracked this on a monthly basis, but I did see one month last year where there were only 15 days booked out of the month, with about 5000 total people. I would imagine a facility as nice as this one could do a large range of events. It's not just the arena, but also there are some very nice meeting rooms that are perfect for conferences, etc. If there truly is a mindset that the Expo Center is limited to livestock events, maybe that's one reason revenues are down.
Also, Billy Huckaby said at a recent city council meeting that there was no rush on the RVs. Why? There WAS a huge rush, it was a big dog and pony to try to figure out where the funding would come from to rush through these RV spaces-do they no longer need them for 2010?
More than that, why should we even HAVE RV spaces at the Expo? Judge Maynard made a comment at the end of this clip from Danny Chambers where he said " Our intent has never been to compete with the local and we even have more concern now that the city's going to be competing with you. " Chambers replied "Yeah, that was a sore one to begin with too. " Um. There's a certain irony here, don't you think? The county doesn't think, apparently, that it's right for the Oakdale to compete with local RV parks (nor do I) but there's a blind eye when it comes to doing the same thing at the Expo Center? Maybe some entrepreneur could arrange to BUY some property in the Industrial Park to put in an RV park and run it as a private entity-why in the WORLD should Somervell County residents be picking this up?
That land, incidentally, that the county would like the city to kick in about 20 spaces for, is on the water treatment plant land. Recently, Chris Bryant asked at a city meeting, to a contractor, what might be done about the stench from it. It's temporary frontage land that sits between the Comfort Inn and the Expo Center. Again, TEMPORARY- in fact, the commissioner court approved over 4000 bucks this last time to do more looking into putting in these RVs.