Based on the first half of Fiscal Year 2019-2020, the Manchester-Coffee County Conference Center is expected to bust its budget again.
It the center continues to perform the way it has July 1 –Dec.31, it will end up with a nearly $420,000 operating loss for the fiscal year - $168,000 more than approved.
The amount will be paid by Coffee County and Manchester City. The projected loss exceeds the funds county and city have approved. The two entities have appropriated a total of $252,000, contributing $126,000 each, according to Coffee County budget for the fiscal year ending June 30, 2020.
The total amount of projected loss – about $420,000 - would include $80,500 for building maintenance and about $44,000 for building depreciation. These costs have historically been included in the amount appropriated by the county and the city.
When going over the conference center report at the Jan. 10 PBA meeting, MCCCC General Manager Rebecca French said that in order for the center to break even, they would need to make $20.85 per person who entered the building, this according to information provided to French by Middle Tennessee State University in 2015.
French said she looked into the center’s year-to-date budget and that rate is $27.29 for the fiscal year starting July 1, 2019.
She added that in order to break even, they have to increase sales and bring more clients. She said since $20.85 was the golden number, they need to keep that in mind as they continue to rebrand and reach out to the community with the message that the conference center is a valuable place.
“We need to tell people…there’s something great in our community and it’s centrally located,” French said. “While there are things that have to be cleaned up and there are things that have to be monitored, it’s important for that message to say there’s a great community resource available all the time.”
When asked what would be the revenue needed to break even, French said they have the ability with the current staff to make $100,000 a month in gross sales. She said if they wanted to make a goal to break even, the center would need (sales) to be $75,000-$100,000 a month.
The Manchester Times and The News have repeatedly reached out to PBA members to request information about the current year’s budget and why it exceeds the approved funds; however, they didn’t comment.