The West Jefferson Tourism Development Authority began considering how to promote tourism for West Jefferson in the Charlotte market during their meeting on Thursday, and they also received a clean audit.
The main topic discussed during Thursday’s meeting was how to use ads to promote the town through various media outlets. These were preliminary plans and no official decisions were made about promoting West Jefferson in the Piedmont area.
According to Wesley Barker, the town’s clerk, the TDA suggested placing ads on a radio station located in Wilkesboro called WKBC-FM. Barker said WKBC serves 45 different counties from the Piedmont to Western North Carolina and even stretches into Virginia.
Also, Stephanie Sturm, a digital/online media specialist at WBTV Charlotte, visited the meeting to discuss different ways to promote West Jefferson in the Charlotte market through Internet sources.
The TDA’s audit was also discussed during Thursdays meeting, and although Barker called the audit “clean,” the audit mentioned several of the TDA’s strengths, weaknesses and opportunities.
“During our audit we became aware of several matters that, while not involving material weakness in the internal control structure, are opportunities for strengthening this structure and the operating efficiency,” read the audit.
“Tourists are still only making day trips and not staying overnight,” read the audit. This is why the TDA has been targeting the Charlotte market - so visitors will stay for the weekend.
Visitors staying in Ashe County’s hotels, eating at Ashe County’s restaurants and shopping at Ashe County’s stores would provide a boost for the area.
Along with promoting tourism and travel for West Jefferson, the TDA also enforces the Town of West Jefferson Occupancy and Tourism Tax. The occupancy tax is collected from the rental of any lodging in West Jefferson’s town limits. This fund is then used for promoting tourism.
“The occupancy tax collections continue at a slower pace which is due to the economic recession,” read the audit.
Another impact on the TDA’s occupancy tax fund was the filing of Chapter 11 Bankruptcy by Trimurthi Hotels Land Holdings WJ, LLC (Hampton Inn) on Dec. 1, 2011.
According to the audit, the TDA will continue to spend the majority of the occupancy tax on tourism promotions. “The major promotion will be $5,000 to the high country Host Partnership.”
Financial highlights from the audit include:
- “The assets of the West Jefferson TDA exceed its liabilities at the close of the period ended June 30, 2012, by $26,734 (net assets).”
- “Occupancy tax revenues from the Town of West Jefferson amounted to $32,111 for the period July 1, 2011 through July 30, 2012. The town’s occupancy tax rate is three percent of the gross receipts derived from the rental of any room, lodging, or accommodations furnished by a hotel, motel, inn, or similar place within the Town of West Jefferson, which is authorized by the state of North Carolina. The collections are remitted to the West Jefferson TDA, less an administration charge of up to three percent (zero for this year).”
- “The occupancy tax revenue must be expended as follows: two-thirds of net proceeds to promote travel and tourism in West Jefferson, and the remainder for tourism related expenditures.”
The TDA had a total revenue of 32,289 and their promotional and tourism-related expenses totaled $30,392, leaving an excess of $1,897, which was added to their net assets.
- “As of the close of the current fiscal year, the West Jefferson TDA reported ending net assets and ending fund balance of $26,734.”
“The board will review how to spend the remaining $4,725 in promotions at future monthly meetings,” read the audit.
The audit was conducted by Priscilla L. Norris, a certified public accountant for Jefferson.