OTTUMWA — Popular concerts and shows at Bridge View Center and a spike in hotel/motel tax revenue circulated more money through Ottumwa last year than predicted.
BVC executive director Larry Gawronski presented the City Council with a financial update Tuesday night. The center out-performed what its expectations last fiscal year, he said.
Total expenses were budgeted at more than $1.11 million last year, though the center spent $12,000 less than expected. The center also brought in nearly $5,000 more than it expected.
Therefore, the center’s net operating deficit was nearly $17,000 better than expected, at approximately -$387,000.
“In the first 12 months of VenuWorks [BVC’s management company], we’re very happy to have forecasted what we saw and realize where we’re going and to perform better on the income side, besting our expense side,” he said.
The increase is thanks to a number of successful events last year, he said, including Larry the Cable Guy, BVC’s theater series and the Oak Ridge Boys. This fall, he expects similar results with comedian Rodney Carrington on Sept. 19 and Kenny Rogers’ Christmas show on Dec. 20.
Upcoming announcements also include a country music group and iconic comedian, he said, though he couldn’t yet name either.
Last fiscal year, the center saw 410 event days, with attendance of more than 100,000. Direct spending totaled nearly $983,000.
“We’re very conservative on factorization because we don’t want to assume that some people spend more, some less,” he said. “We take a low number we knew was realistic and tangible.”
That direct spending has a four-fold economic impact on the entire community, he said, since with every additional “re-spend,” 60 percent is retained in the community. That’s an economic impact of more than $2.7 million.
“In plain English, I don’t know any person or business who wouldn’t invest $400,000 to see a return of $2.7 million at the end of the year,” he said. “That’s money well spent.”