Carson City tourism authority cuts salaries as revenue falls

Carson City citizens committees are meeting again.

On Monday, the Carson City Culture and Tourism Authority met followed by an entirely remote meeting held by the Cultural Commission.

Many of the committees have been furloughed during the shutdown due to the coronavirus pandemic. Only the Board of Supervisors and the Planning Commission are required to meet if they have business to conduct.

The CTA met to consider the bureau’s budget, which relies on the transient occupancy tax for funding.

David Peterson, executive director, said January and February collections were strong as was the first two weeks in March. Revenue for the entire month of March ended down 43.7 percent from the previous year, from $1.4 million in 2019 to $813,139.91 this year.

Due to the drop in revenue, the CTA board voted to suspend all 2021 fiscal year merit pay increases for the tourism employees and to cut salaries 5 percent for staff and 10 percent for the executive director starting with the next pay period and through the first quarter. The CTA board will reevaluate salaries at its September meeting and possibly reinstate them or cut further depending on the summer’s room tax revenue.

The board also heard an update on Carson City events. Earlier in the day, the tourism agency announced that the Carson City Off-Road bike race put on by Epic Rides in June is canceled.

All events in May are canceled as well as is the Carson City Fair and Karson Krusers, both in July. Other events, such as the Outlaw Flat Trac Race in August, are pending or may be rescheduled.

Peterson said the focus going forward will be on attracting visitors within driving distance.

“That’s where travel is going to be,” said Peterson, who said the initial focus would be on outdoor recreation then later on the city’s museum’s and other indoor attractions.

Peterson also said marketing will target Nevada residents with a marketing campaign to explore their state capital.

The CTA will meet again May 20 to finalize its 2021 budget.

The Cultural Commission met remotely with all its members and staff using videoconferencing or calling in by phone.

The commission made its annual recommendations to the Redevelopment Authority for $20,000 allocated for arts events.

The commission recommended $2,458 to the Brewery Arts Center for a production of “Falsettos”; $4,833 to the Carson City Symphony for seven concerts, including the LatinXpresssions series, which was cut short due to coronavirus restrictions; $4,933 to the Mile High Jazz Band Association for the Jazz & Beyond Carson City Music & Art Festival scheduled for August; and $4,972 to Wild Horse Children's Theater for a production of “Moana Jr.”

The remaining roughly $2,800 will be available for other projects.

The commission also voted to adopt Department of Arts & Culture’s project calendar and budget for public art programming, which includes The First Lady Presents …, an art exhibit at the Governor’s Mansion; Taking Flight II in February 2021, a second exhibition of local art at the Reno-Tahoe International Airport; and the Capital Reads program next April.

The public arts programming budget is funded by the room tax and dropped by a third to $39,828, said Mark Salinas, director of the city’s arts and culture office.


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