County officials have expressed satisfaction with the operations of the Manchester-Coffee County Center this fiscal year.

The communication between the county and the Public Building Authority (PBA), the board that owns and operates the center, is “much better,” officials say.

Expected to stay within budget FY19

According to MCCCC General Manager Rebecca French, this fiscal year, the center’s deficit is not going to exceed the allocated funds from the county and Manchester City – the two entities equally cover the deficit.

The county and city have appropriated $126,000 each, for a total of $252,000, and the center’s shortfall will not exceed this number, according to French.

About $37,000 of what the county and city will pay the center is still remaining through the month of June, according to PBA members.

And even though the conference center is behind on payroll – an amount of $55,000, French expects to stay within her budget.

The county’s budget and accounts office processes payroll for the administrative employees of the conference center, and the center is required to reimburse the county within 30 days.

“ We have clients that (are) coming in for June that – it’s going to be a much better month than predicted,” French said during the PBA meeting on Friday. “That’s great because we’re ending the year really strong.”

County officials see improvements

Last year, PBA didn’t submit its budget in the form county officials had requested. This year, they did.

“ They have made significant improvements in the last two years that have brought their deficit down from over $500,000 to $400,000 to whatever number it ends up this current fiscal year,” said Dwight Miller, chairman of the Coffee County Budget and Finance Committee.

The conference center had a deficit of $301,329 in FY15, $407,178 in FY16 and $505,975 in FY17 and $396,160 in FY18, according to the Tennessee Comptroller of the Treasury audits.

Miller also expressed satisfaction when it comes to the expected deficit in the upcoming year. French expects next year’s deficit to be about $374,000.

According to Miller, the budget request submitted by the PBA was much better compared with previous years.

“ Their budget can be compared to the previous year in line items,” Miller said.

“ We are all working very hard to minimize the deficit so tax payers are not having to pay losses, and we all want the conference to be successful and know it is an asset to the community.”

Miller added that he hopes “the newly approved hotel/motel tax will be enough to pick up the county’s portion of losses as it has for Manchester for years.”

Bringing visitors

to Coffee County

According to numbers presented by French, from July 2018 to April 2019, the center had 29,410 visitors. It held 294 total events, with 73 major events and 87 for organizations outside of Coffee County events.

French also claims that 4,313 hotel rooms were booked due to events.

Casey Watts contributed to this story.

Elena Cawley may be reached via email at