An audit of the City of Paintsville completed by Wells and Company, PSC for the prior fiscal year included an audit of the finances of Paintsville Tourism, the results of which auditor James Bryant presented to the Paintsville Tourism Commission on Monday.
“The only finding that I always have, there’s a lack of segregation of duties,” Bryant said. “We’re a small city, so you don’t have a finance officer and a bookkeeper. People do multiple duties.”
Bryant said that the audit report, for the fiscal year ending June 30, 2018, showed total revenues of $872,115, including $717,684 from the restaurant tax and more than $56,000 from the Country Music Highway Museum, among other revenue sources.
“Now, your revenues were up from the prior year. The prior year, they were only $866,929,” Bryant said.
Expenditures for tourism totaled $601,069, including approximately $171,000 for salary and associated employee costs.
Bryant said those lean costs made the total revenue over expenditures more than $271,000, or more than double the approximately $135,000 margin from the prior year.
A large part of the cut costs was an overall smaller budget for donations and sponsorships for local events, Bryant said, down from approximately $76,000 to $34,000. Advertising and promotion costs were also cut, from an estimated $104,000 the prior year to $68,000.
However, despite more revenue and fewer expenditures, when the required $283,170 transfer to the City of Paintsville’s general fund is included, the tourism office’s account balance actually went down for the past fiscal year to the tune of approximately $12,000.
In addition to receiving the audit, the commission, now with newly-named members Adam Preece and Chase Caudill, authorized the job descriptions for needed part time employees for the Mountain Homeplace and the Country Music Highway Museum, and authorized Paintsville Tourism Executive Director Josh Johnson to move forward with moving the tourism office from Stave Branch in Staffordsville to Paintsville’s Main Street.
Johnson said that having the office next door to the Country Music Highway Museum presented a slight redundancy for visitors to town, and moving operations downtown could help continue the push to get tourists into Main Street shops and make it easier to coordinate with the events at the Historic SIPP Theatre, Stafford House and other attractions like the Market 606 event.
“We’d have a better community presence,” Johnson said. “Believe it or not, every week, there’s someone from out of state that’s downtown at those antique stores.”
Preece said the plan would still leave a strong tourism presence just off U.S. 23, with the museum and its knowledgeable staff.
Johnson said several suitable properties were available for the tourism department on Main Street, including one next to Lynnette and Laurel.
In two motions, the commission voted to return the current tourism office building, which is the property of the City of Paintsville, back to the city for its own use, and authorized the move.