Las Vegas Convention and Visitors Authority seeks $270.3 million budget

The Las Vegas Convention and Visitors Authority next month will consider a $270.3 million operating budget package for the 2013-14 fiscal year.

The LVCVA board of directors got its first look today at the budget plan, which proposes spending $92.2 million to promote Southern Nevada, the organization’s primary mission.

The board will conduct a public hearing on the budget and consider its passage at a special meeting May 16.

Rana Lacer, vice president of finance for the LVCVA, walked the board through highlights of the budget in a 15-minute presentation. The board reviewed the proposed budget prior to its submission to the state Department of Taxation.

The proposed $270.3 million for operations provides for employee salaries, marketing and advertising, community support and special events.

Within the operations budget, the LVCVA has a separate fund for capital improvements, equipment replacement and land acquisition. The fiscal 2014 plan calls for spending $2.3 million from that fund, including $1.4 million for land and building improvement projects.

Another $54.5 million within the budget would be dedicated to debt service payments on 11 bond issues.

The LVCVA’s proposed budget is 2.2 percent less than what’s being spent this fiscal year — a conservative budgeting move considering the LVCVA is expecting a 3.1 percent increase in revenue next year.

Most of the organization’s budget is generated from room taxes paid by visitors to Clark County’s motels and hotels. The LVCVA is projecting room tax revenue of $213 million in fiscal 2014, a 1 percent increase over the current year, and $47.5 million in facility rentals, a 21 percent increase over the current year.

The revenue projections are based on steady increases in annual daily room and occupancy rates. The facility charges are increasing as a result of a greater number of conventions, meetings and trade shows scheduled in the Las Vegas Convention Center and Cashman Center, the two facilities the LVCVA operates.

The biggest portion of the LVCVA’s budget is dedicated to advertising and promoting Southern Nevada. Of the $92.2 million to be spent, $65.4 million — about 71 percent of the ad budget — would go to media buys in traditional and online media.

The budget also includes $9.3 million for ad production costs, $5.8 million for agency fees, $3.8 million for research, $3.5 million for website development, $2.7 million to specifically promote Laughlin, Mesquite, Primm and Boulder City, and $1.6 million for public relations.

The advertising budget is about the same as this year’s.

The LVCVA also is spending $5.9 million to sponsor special events that attract visitors to Las Vegas, Laughlin, Mesquite and Primm. There are 39 special events on the 2014 calendar — 22 of them in Las Vegas — with the biggest spending planned for New Year’s Eve and the National Finals Rodeo, $625,000 and $532,838, respectively.

Other highlights from Lacer’s presentation:

• The LVCVA’s share of room-tax revenue is shrinking and the agency now gets about 32 percent of the tax generated. Other beneficiaries include the Nevada Department of Transportation, Clark County transportation, state and Clark County education and the Nevada Tourism Commission.

• The LVCVA had 572 employees prior to the recession and trimmed that count by not filling vacancies. The organization currently has 505 employees, a level that has stood for the last three years. Next year, the LVCVA plans to hire five new employees, all of them security officers.

• The LVCVA is projecting 40 million visitors in 2013 and is basing revenue on an average daily room rate of $85.The city’s occupancy rate outpaces the national average and is expected to be one to two percentage points higher than the current year.

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