City, CVB prepare contract

Published 12:00 am Wednesday, September 8, 1999

City and CVB&160;officials are working on a management contract that would put Convention and Visitors Bureau employees on the city payroll permanently.

Under the proposed contract, CVB employees will become city employees, and control of the CVB’s day-to-day operations – including running the logo shop at the Natchez Visitor Reception Center – will be in the hands of the city’s Office of Tourism Management.

CVB Chairman Dr. Gene Taylor said the contract will allow the commission to focus on promoting tourism. &uot;It’ll take us out of the day-by-day little things we don’t need to be doing,&uot; he said.

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Last year, the city contracted temporarily with the CVB to provide employees for $500 a month, charged to the CVB. The CVB currently pays $10,000 in rent to the city for use of offices in the Natchez Visitors Reception Center.

Natchez Tourism Management Director Walter Tipton said the CVB’s rent payment would be cut in half under the new contract, making it comparable to what the Mississippi Department of Economic Development pays for Welcome Center space.

The CVB now has 12 employees, and the Office of Tourism Management has eight.

Tipton said the plan will help streamline activities and finances for both the city and CVB. For example, he said, both offices, which share space in the Visitors Center, have different forms of stationery, and there are two fax machines within three feet of each other.

&uot;It’s more of an internal change,&uot; Tipton said. &uot;It won’t change what we do or what we promote. There’s a lot of duplication and we’re all doing the same things. What (the contract) doesn’t do is change the nature of the work these people do for the CVB.&uot;

The CVB&160;will keep a part-time bookkeeper on its payroll, and it will also keep control of its marketing fund. &uot;We want to make sure the CVB&160;continues to market the restaurants and hotels,&uot; Tipton said.

Neither the CVB board nor the board of aldermen have approved the contract, but it could come before the board of aldermen at next Tuesday’s regular meeting.