The Journal Gazette
Friday, October 26, 2018 1:00 am

Improvement board OKs budgets

Increase for Grand Wayne, Visit Fort Wayne


Grand Wayne Center and Visit Fort Wayne will each likely get more money to operate next year after their 2019 budgets were unanimously passed Thursday by the Allen County-Fort Wayne Capital Improvement Board.

Visit Fort Wayne submitted a $2.2 million budget, up from $2 million this year. Grand Wayne's budget for next year is $6.02 million, up from $5.97 million this year.

The budget for Grand Wayne includes a 3 percent raise for employees, which tracks with increases for city and county government workers, Bart Shaw, convention center executive director, told the board. 

The budget also includes a 12 percent increase for health insurance, but the actual amount is expected to be only 5.5 percent, he said.

Visit Fort Wayne's increase will go to an additional sales person who will focus on signing more conventions and trade shows from the national market. Some of the additional money also is allowed for attending two more industry trade shows in pursuit of that market, President Dan O'Connell said.

O'Connell said revenue from the room tax should increase next year because of higher occupancy and rising hotel and motel room rates.

Grand Wayne Center officials said they anticipate working more with Visit Fort Wayne on marketing that stresses the building's location within a desirable city with other destinations.

They also said they anticipate saving money from conversions to more efficient lighting and improved heating and cooling systems.

Both budgets will be submitted to City Council and Allen County Council for review and a vote, O'Connell said. 

The CIB has scheduled a special meeting for Nov. 6 to consider a funding request from the Electric Works revitalization of the former General Electric campus downtown.

That discussion was originally to take place Thursday but was deferred because of expected absences by board Chairman James Cook and member Tim Pape, a Fort Wayne attorney.

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