The convention center adopts a new budget | News, Sports, Jobs


The authority that runs the Blair County Convention Center has passed a 2022 budget and made staffing changes for what it expects will be another year of rebuilding operations lost to the COVID-19 pandemic .

The facility’s 2022 budget passed Wednesday shows projected revenues of $1.5 million and expenses of $1.6 million, resulting in a shortfall of nearly $90,000.

But that deficit could be wiped out by the end of 2022, just as a $147,000 deficit was wiped out in the establishment’s 2021 budget. Unaudited figures show that when the facility ended fiscal 2021, its revenue was $15,500 higher than its expenses.

“It was a nice turnaround,” said Authority member Donna Gority.

Convention Center President and Chief Executive Tom Schilling said the 2022 budget is based on current bookings with signed contracts.

“That doesn’t include any (stuff) we might take on the road,” Schilling said.

Authority member Jamie VanBuren said the establishment’s financial reports for 2021 showed the bulk of its revenue coming in the second half.

It looked like the convention center was making a comeback in the third quarter, then went through “fits and starts” in the fourth quarter, VanBuren said.

This would have reflected the increase in COVID-19 cases at the end of the year, despite the availability of vaccines.

The convention center remains open for business, with notices posted on its doors encouraging visitors to wear masks.

Upcoming events include Setsucon, hosted by the Penn State Anime organization on January 28-29, which is expected to attract around 300-400 patrons.

Making plans for 2022, the authority approved recommendations from the personnel committee which promoted Justin Hughes to a newly created $37,000 a year chief position, promoted Elizabete Mills to a vacant administrative assistant/planner position events at $20.25 an hour and gave Schilling permission to fill the banquet. managerial position that Mills left.

The authority also agreed to use The Lytle Group, at a cost of $6,000 to $9,000, to prepare a job description, advertise and vet candidates for the position of director of sales and marketing, a position that Tara Saltzburg will leave in February.

Despite a suggestion by authority member Ron Beatty to reinstate the position of executive director of the facility, other authority members said they remained happy with Schilling carrying out those duties in addition. executive head responsibilities.

Beatty said that before the pandemic, the convention center had an executive director in addition to Schilling as chief executive.

Schilling did “great work” at a time when business has been significantly reduced due to the pandemic, but asking him to handle both will be difficult as business grows, Beatty said.

Schilling said he remained fine with the current arrangements and staff able to substitute as needed.

“We are building a team…. And it’s not all up to me.” Schilling said.

The authority also voted on Wednesday, without prior public debate, to nominate authority vice chairman Dan Taddei as chairman of the board, authority member Matt Stuckey as vice -President and the re-election of Gority as Secretary-Treasurer.

Taddei succeeds the authority’s longtime chairman, Richard Karcher, who was not reappointed for another term by the commissioners. They appointed Gority, Stuckey and David Foreman as authority members for five-year terms. In addressing this action, Commissioners Laura Burke and Amy Webster expressed their desire to introduce new members to county councils.

During Wednesday’s authority meeting, Taddei and Gority praised Karcher for his dedication and leadership at the convention center.

“He served faithfully for a long time and was a good president,” Gority said.

Beatty described recent action by commissioners as commendable and expressed his disagreement with what he called lifetime appointments to local boards.

“I want to see change in our community, and I want to see more young people get involved,” he said.

Mirror Staff Writer Kay Stephens is at 814-946-7456.

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