The Gonzales Convention and Visitors Bureau (GCVB) advisory board and Daisy Scheske Freeman, executive director of the Gonzales Chamber of Commerce and Agriculture, agreed to terms Oct. 31 on a revised contract. The publicity and tourism agreement included the chamber’s local hotel occupancy tax (H.O.T.) funding increase in the amount of $35,000 which was previously recommended by the GCVB board on Sept. 19.
As currently structured, the chamber will be reimbursed by the city in the amount of $8,750 on a quarterly basis beginning Dec. 1, 2019 for tourism promotion and operation of the Gonzales Visitors Information Center. As per the agreement, the chamber will provide a quarterly report to the GCVB board with an “itemized breakdown for the usage of all H.O.T. funds, appropriately categorized by function and purpose.” This caveat was a point of diversion between some GCVB board members and Freeman.
Freeman argued that she already included a breakdown of expenses when she submitted the Visitor Information Center’s initial funding request of $41,000. GCVB board president Dawn O’Donnell sought to have a more detailed report that delineates between chamber and Visitors Information Center expenses. Freeman countered with how difficult it would be to meet those standard.
“Well, I do submit a paperwork that says we answer all phone calls, emails and that stuff, but to actually list all that stuff out, that’s going to be a lot more paperwork. I mean, we’re just two people,” Freeman said. “We have to do stuff for the chamber, we help stuff with y’all (GCVB) but I mean, for me to actually pinpoint right down to the right percentage, I mean, that’s going to be hard to do because what’s chamber, what’s visitors center sometimes overlaps.”
GCVB board member Barbara Crozier proposed Freeman resubmit the original expense report that was included in the $41,000 request to be used as a template and the board will adjust it as it sees fit. Freeman and O’Donnell both obliged with Crozier’s request.
“I’m not into micromanaging,” Crozier said.
Among other changes, the agreement also alters the Visitors Information Center holiday hours. The Visitors Information Center will now be open from 9 a.m. to 3:30 p.m. on holidays.
The agreement now moves to Gonzales City Council for final approval. The Gonzales City Council will meet next on Thursday, Nov. 14. If approved, the agreement will be in effect until Sept. 30, 2020. The council has the opportunity to review the agreement annually prior to its budget adoption.