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VCB budget shows where money goes

Earlier this year, the Port Orchard City Council voted to give $20,500 of the city’s 2005 Lodging Tax funds to the Kitsap Peninsula Visitor and Convention Bureau (VCB). The amount pales compared to what Port Orchard allocated to the VCB in 2004, but is more in line with the contributions of other Kitsap County cities.

According to the VCB’s 2004 Profit and Loss Year-to-Date, the city of Port Orchard allocated $32,000 to the VCB in 2004 and ended up giving $34,790.55. The city has budgeted $20,500 for the VCB in 2005. Only Bremerton, Poulsbo and Kitsap County are giving more.

The city of Bremerton is planning to give $22,000 in 2005 — down from the $37,918.70 the city gave in 2004.

Poulsbo has budgeted $28,000 for the VCB, down just slightly from the $28,672.48 given in 2004.

Kitsap County has chopped $46,500 from the Bureau’s 2005 budget, giving $85,000 compared to $131,500 in 2004.

Bainbridge Island will give $2,500, down from $5,000 in 2004. Gig Harbor is holding steady, giving $5,000 to the VCB.

Funds given by the five cities and the county is intended to assist the VCB in advertising and bringing vacationers and tourists to Kitsap County. However, the VCB has budgeted only $41,050 of its $235,200 projected 2005 income on advertising, marketing and public relations.

A majority of the bureau’s 2005 income, $101,757.28, will pay for “payroll expenses.”

These expenses include the salaries of the VCB executive director, tourism development manager and office assistant. Funds will also go to employee medical and dental insurance and 401K contributions, taxes, training, rent, telephone service, utilities, equipment, travel, subscriptions, supplies, fundraising and maintaining the North and South Visitors Centers.

However, last year the VCB made a $16,170.49 profit whereas in 2005, the agency will make $3.92 extra.

Some Port Orchard residents have made no secret of their feelings about the money given annually to the VCB. The argument centers around the opinion that the VCB does not give back to Port Orchard as a city and the bureau promotes all the cities and the county equally regardless of how much the jurisdiction contributes.

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