Who's Going to Pay?

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The organization has lost over $200,000 on the event the last two years, so the Indian Summer Seafood Festival remains a hot topic of debate between board members and staff at the Convention and Visitors Bureau in Panama City Beach.

Bob Warren, the director of the TDC, presented the audit to the board with numbers less than appealing for everyone to hear.

"We have in fact the budget that you have in front of you or the summary or the finished statement that shows the 98,000 loss is an accurate statement."

Several of the board members discussed bringing in a private company to run the festival for a set cost. Bob Blackerby says there is no reason they continue to pay for the cost of an event that is not raising any money.

"We've got a great festival because we know what we're doing, but they're not in the business of running festivals everyday."

Warren says despite the loss in revenue, it's still possible to proceed and make some money themselves.

"We believe that we can do the Indian Summer Seafood Festival after making $160,000 worth of cuts in the budget. We can get this thing to where at least it will break even if not make money."

Paul Goulding manages the festival and says a loss is expected in any business, but they do have a successful product.

"The IRS allots any new business lose money for the first five to seven years, they're in business, so you have to invest in a business. You can't expect to make money and hit a homerun the first year."

Blackerby still says it's not worth the risk of a loss.

"Let somebody else take the risk, let somebody else pay the money. We're public, we're not private. Let private enterprise make money. Let our guys watch and control it, quality control."

With the next Indian Summer Seafood Festival still months away and backlog of receipts still expected to be paid, this will surely remain a topic of interest.