BY DAVID J. MITCHELL
River Parishes bureau
July 11, 2012
SORRENTO — After a year of belt-tightening and personnel changes, the Ascension Parish Tourism Commission ended 2011 with a small, one-year surplus, and looks to 2012 with improved revenue prospects, commission officials said Tuesday.
The commission ended the 2011-12 fiscal year by adding to its fund balance with a one-year surplus of $33,855 before depreciation, boosting the balance to $398,794, a new annual audit says.
Mike Schexnayder, of the Postlethwaite & Netterville accounting firm, told the commissioners during their quarterly meeting Tuesday at the Ascension Welcome Center that they had a very healthy fund balance compared to their expenditures.
The commission took in $404,314 in revenues and spent $370,459 in 2011, the audit says.
About $279,240 of that revenue came from the parish’s 2 percent hotel-motel tax while another $113,712 came from grants, primarily through BP, according to the audit.
The audit had one finding. The commission several years ago put its money in certificates of deposit with out-of-state banks.
Schexnayder said state law requires the banks holding the CDs be domiciled in Louisiana or have branches in the state. The commission removed the money and is holding the funds in cash until a new bank is selected, the commissioners said.
During a later quarterly financial report, Commissioner Ooly LeJeune, finance chairwoman, said collections from the hotel-motel tax are up for 2012 compared with 2011.
The first six months of 2011 averaged collections of about $22,170 per month, LeJeune said. The first six months of 2012 average collections of about $30,000, she said.
Elinda Taillon, commission chairwoman, said in a later interview that hotels and motels in the parish are seeing strong business because of the amount of upgrades being installed in the parish’s industrial plants.
Other business taken up by the commission included:
JOB OFFER: The commission voted without opposition to offer Tracy Papizan Browning, of Gonzales, the job as executive director of the commission.
She formerly worked for Eatel as a marketing product coordinator for six years, her ré sum é says.