News

Economic development releases 2012 budget

The Nanaimo Economic Development Corporation released a balanced budget last week for its first full fiscal year.

The fledgling corporation, created early in 2011 and spearheaded by Nanaimo Mayor John Ruttan to streamline the city's tourism and economic development departments, received total revenues of $1.84 million for 2012.

Just under $1.4 million of that came from Nanaimo taxpayers with the Regional District of Nanaimo, which joined as a stakeholder last winter, providing $125,000. Portions of contingencies make up the difference.

Leading expenses included wages at $559,959, which include earnings for departed CEO Susan Cudahy, who held her post for six months before departing in April. The CEO's salary is $130,000 annually plus a $10,000 bonus.

Other wages include two full-time staff in the economic development division, and three full-time and five seasonal positions in the tourism division.

Collectively, staff benefits amount to $84,300.

Other key expense lines include $395,500 for tourism marketing and $273,000 for economic development marketing.

A.J. Hustins, chairman of the NEDC board, said tourism marketing is higher due to hard costs associated with tourism.

"The tourism division is responsible for managing two visitor centres and the new Northfield location in addition to marketing the city to visitors," wrote Hustins in an e-mail to the News Bulletin. "Economic development markets the city and attracts new business, [and] many of those initiatives have costs associated with staff time rather than large marketing expenses, where tourism is both hard costs as well as staff time."

Hustins added that the budget for tourism marketing is the same as prior to the NEDC's creation, but some line items, such as the travel guide, hit twice for the inaugural budget. The travel guide shows an expense of $192,000, double what it will be in the future.

"Some of the tourism numbers are slightly higher this year than will be the norm moving forward," said Hustins. "The travel guide is double [as are the revenues] with 2012 revenues and expenses hitting early in 2012 and the 2013 revenues and expenses will hit in the fall of 2012. Usually expense and revenues will hit the budget in the fall."

The NEDC board, in conjunction with headhunting firm Pinton Forrest and Madden, is searching for a new CEO and is moving forward with a short-list of potential candidates.

 

reporter2@nanaimobulletin.com

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