Blair Convention Center report shows early profit

The Blair County Convention Center’s financial picture for the first third of 2014 is operating in the black, based on a financial report distributed Wednesday.

Convention center revenue from January through April totaled $506,607, about $2,000 more than budgeted. Expenses, based on the financial report, came in at $437,932, about $65,000 less than budgeted.

“The year-to-date is looking healthy,” financial consultant Steve Koval told the county Convention Center and Sports Facilities Authority, which met Wednesday at the convention center.

The authority has been managing the convention center since August, after hiring Barry Kumpf as general manager, the same job he did while managing the convention center for Explore Altoona, formerly known as the Allegheny Mountains Convention and Visitors Bureau.

Explore Altoona, in January 2013, notified the authority that it did not want to renew its agreement to operate, manage and market the convention center and preferred instead to concentrate efforts on marketing the entire county.

The authority, a public entity with members appointed by the county commissioners, weighed the options and took on the role of manager and employer.

While 2013’s financial records remain with the auditors and reflect management by both the authority and Explore Altoona, the 2014 fiscal year will be the first one reflecting management only by the authority.

Kumpf said business at the convention center has been strong this month and will remain good in June. It will drop off in July and August, which is typical, then pick up again in September, Kumpf said.

Koval said Kumpf and the convention center staff should be complimented for its efforts during the first four months of the year.

The expenditures were under budget, Koval said, mostly in the salary and wage category, which means the convention hired fewer servers and staff for scheduled events.

“While yet providing a very good product,” authority member Donna Gority said.

Blair County Commissioner Ted Beam Jr. said he attended the Blair County Sports Hall of Fame dinner at the convention center, which attracted about 1,000 dinner guests. Beam said he thought that event went well, and he heard no complaints.

In addition to event revenue, the convention center received $41,306 from January through April in revenue from the county’s bed tax levy charged by local lodging properties on their guests. The authority and Explore Altoona worked out a deal last year to share the bed tax revenue.

Mirror Staff Writer Kay Stephens is at 946-7456.