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Bonus Payouts Made For Cash Losing Event?

As the annual Farmer Market kicked off in downtown Oakdale for the summer of 2016, the Oakdale Travel and Visitors Bureau announced that it lost over $6,200 when it hosted the event last year.

During its yearly budget presentation to the Oakdale City Council on Monday, May 2, Dianne Korupp of OTVB announced that the hotel tax funded organization had to cover a $6,227 loss to last year’s Farmers Market.

Figures presented by the OTVB show that the organization only brought in $9,580 in space rentals for the year and collected $4,000 in outside sponsorships. Total expenses for the 18-week long Wednesday event were $19,807.

Korupp described the $6,227 void as a “sponsorship” kicked in by OTVB that was done after-the-fact.

“We threw in our own sponsorship money,” Korupp said in explaining the variance. “We’ve since passed that (the farmers market) on to somebody else.”

This year Courtney Smith of Bloomingcamp Ranch will coordinate the market which now runs each Wednesday through Sept. 28 from 5 p.m. to 8 p.m.

For 2016 the market also returns to downtown after the OTVB had attempted to host it at the plaza area of the Gene Bianchi Community Center. Both downtown merchants and city residents had voiced displeasure with the move when it occurred last year.

Not specifically listed on the financial documents presented to the council was a payout/bonus paid to the administrator of the 2015 market that had been included in previously presented OTVB financial figures.

“It wasn’t a bonus but a fee paid to an assistant,” said OTVB administrator, Pam Dumas, when contacted after the meeting.

When asked about the exact figure and why it had been left off in the council presentation, Dumas stated “It wasn’t for me to know, you’ll have to contact Keith (Boggs).”

After messages were left with OTVB Director Keith Boggs, Dumas responded with an email to the Leader stating Boggs was “super busy” but “…we hired a Market Assistant and paid her $3,000 for the 18 week season.”

Dumas said the person hired helped with the vendors, especially working with the certified organic vendors, and was “key” in the set up and take down each week.

When asked why that figure was not noted in the market statement or even the total 2015 expenses presented to the council, Dumas said the figure was noted under Non-Employee Compensation, a $6,618 figure on the budget.

“…3,000 went to the assistant,” Dumas wrote in an email, “$3,618 went to me for work on the market, included a $500 bonus.”

Also part of the OTVB presentation was the re-scheduled “Find Your Country” event that when announced by OTVB earlier this year, was set to be held the same weekend as the renowned Riverbank Cheese and Wine Exposition on Oct. 8 and 9.

The event is now slated for Friday, Sept. 30 and Saturday, Oct. 1.

“We decided not to go against the Riverbank Cheese and Wine because of their long standing,” Dumas said.

OTVB is budgeting $43,000 in expenses for the event which will feature a Friday night concert and Saturday chili-cook-off.

The OTVB was designated by the city to carry out the Oakdale Business Improvement District’s business plan and receives an annual budget based on the 7 percent room tax charged by city motels on every room rented.

Last year the OTVB was provided nearly $79,000 from the tax and carried over $114,831 from previous years’ budgets to this year.