Committee recommends $6.4 million budget increase for tourism agency

The audit committee of the Las Vegas Convention and Visitors Authority met Tuesday.

The issue: The committee reviewed the findings of an internal audit of the organization and recommended the full board approve an increase in its 2013-14 fiscal budget.

The vote: 5-0

What it means: If approved by the full board next month, the LVCVA would have $6.4 million more to spend, including $1 million dedicated to foreign and domestic advertising.

The committee also recommended transferring $5 million to the organization’s capital fund in preparation for work on the Las Vegas Global Business District project and $400,000 for general operations.

Thanks to modest increases in visitation and resorts’ average daily room rates, room tax receipts have increased by about 2 percent over projected revenue since July. If approved as expected, the LVCVA’s annual budget would increase to $288.7 million.

Clark County collects about $514 million in room tax revenue in a year; the LVCVA gets 32 percent of that, with the rest going to transportation, education and other government entities.

The LVCVA’s share represents about 80 percent of the agency’s budget, with another 18 percent coming from facility rental fees.

About 48 percent of the LVCVA’s budget is spent on advertising and marketing, with 19 percent going to debt service and 14 percent to operations.

The committee also received an audit report from Piercy Bowler Taylor & Kern, uncovering no major discrepancies or issues in LVCVA finances.

Auditors found no reportable issues in its examination of the LVCVA’s advertising agreement with R&R Partners.

The biggest concerns noted: A follow-up audit with Aramark, the LVCVA’s food provider at the Las Vegas Convention Center, found that 22 percent of recommended changes in 2012 had not been made; a member of the LVCVA’s security team failed to attend firearm qualification testing, and another member was carrying a weapon that wasn’t the same one listed in the department’s files. The officer who failed to attend testing has since left the LVCVA.

Quote: “You run a really good ship here. I only wish every client we had was as conscientious in addressing their financial affairs.” — Richard Bowler, principal of Piercy Bowler Taylor & Kern, which conducted an audit of LVCVA finances

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