The Enid News and Eagle, Enid, OK

Local and State News

June 16, 2014

Event Center allotted $800,000 for marketing, production

ENID, Okla. — The city of Enid has agreed to move $800,000 into the Enid Event Center and Convention Hall budget.

By appropriating the money, which technically will be included in the 2013-2014 budget that ends June 30, city commissioners are allowing the Event Center the ability to market and produce its own events.

The money comes from the hotel and motel tax fund, which is fed by room rentals within city limits; officials link some of the fund’s growth to events that bring people into town.

Event Center General Manager Keller Taylor said he had expected more “rental” events in the past year, where promoters will pay for the space. The overall operational costs are less for the city property, but profits go to the promoter.

Instead, like with the Darius Rucker and Reba concerts, the event center has no “middle man.”

“We don’t have to ask someone to promote this for us,” said City Manager Eric Benson, describing the rental process in an informal study session Monday night.

“They come in, rent the building and they keep all of the ticket sales.”

By approving the additional $800,000, he said, Enid Event Center will be able to complete work on already-planned events.

“This allows us to reap the benefit of all of the revenue associated with the show. It increases our profit margin,” he said.

Taylor told the commission that the event center has raised $1.3 million in overall ticket sales since this time last year.

“You can see there’s net positives on that alone,” he said.

Because of the trend toward promoting their own booked events, Taylor and the city’s financial staff created a budget that reflected the likelihood of increased expenditures. (See additional comment below.)

That budget goes into effect next month.

Commissioners also heard from project managers who hope to complete a comprehensive plan by December. The city budgeted $400,000 for the plan, which will examine the city’s infrastructure, community profile, historic districts, land use and transportation issues. It also will make recommendations for the commission to use immediately and in the future.

Guernsey Consultants, along with architecture and planning firm BNIM, will begin the assessment in July after approval by the commission. They intend to engage the public through existing well-attended events and with an online presence.

The work will cost the city $395,785, but commissioners have the opportunity to spring for about $100,000 more in additional studies.

In their study session, commissioners received a primer in proper use of city credit cards.

When they met in their full session, they approved the Enid Event Center appropriation and also passed the following agenda items:

• The purchase of a $278,625 10-foot concrete paver that can be used for sidewalks, trails, curbs, gutters and, in some cases, roads. The machine, provided by the GOMACO Corp., can be operated by three city workers and will eliminate the need to bid for simple trail construction.

• Cost deductions of approved contracts for disability-friendly intersection improvements and water meter maintenance.

• Contract cost increase to S. Crow Painting for refurbishment on two additional pedestrian signal poles in the downtown area.

• Conveyance of a 20-foot-wide right-of-way easement to Mustang Gas Products LLC for a pipeline located south of Boggy Creek near 10th. The agenda incorrectly noted it was a 10-foot easement.

Following an closed-door executive session to discuss personnel matters, commissioners approved a one-year contract extension and 5 percent pay raise for City Attorney Andrea Chism.

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