Local News

December 13, 2012

Trade center looks to cut operating loss

Officials at the Northwest Georgia Trade and Convention Center say they plan to cut the facility’s operating loss by more than $100,000 in 2013.

“Not counting capital, we expect our operating loss to be about $695,000. That’s down substantially from $800,000-plus in 2012,” said Chairman Dan Rogers.

Rogers said several changes will help bring that loss down.

“The bulk of that will come from the elimination of Global Spectrum’s management fee. We are also combining the general manager and the director of operations role,” Rogers said.

The trade center board voted earlier this year to end its management contract with Global Spectrum effective at the end of the year. The Philadelphia-based firm had managed the building’s operations since 2008. Global Spectrum’s management fee was $9,000 a month in 2011 and 2012. That would have increased to $10,000 a month in 2013 if the board had picked up its option.

The trade center board named Dalton Area Convention and Visitors Bureau Executive Director Brett Huske the new director of the trade center last month, and the board recently approved the 2013 budget request, which calls for total expenses of $1.748 million in 2013.

The trade center is owned equally by the city of Dalton and Whitfield County, and the 2013 budget request calls for each government to provide $472,963 to cover capital expenses and the operating loss. The two governments are each expected to provide about $475,000 this year.

“We will fund our share equally with the city, and I expect that we will accept the trade center’s budget request or something close to that,” said Whitfield County Board of Commissioners Chairman Mike Babb.

During the local option sales tax (LOST) agreement talks earlier this year, the two governments discussed the county transferring its half ownership of the trade center to the city in return for the city assuming full financial responsibility for the building. They ultimately decided not to do that, but Babb says commissioners are still looking at the county’s long-term options for the facility.

“We will support it in the 2013 budget and watch what it does. With the (Dalton State College basketball) Roadrunners starting back up and the college making more use of it and with the different management up there, we hope to see some changes,” Babb said.

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