OPINION: MARSHALL CITY GOVERNMENT LOSES AT LEAST $191,998 ON WONDERLAND OF LIGHTS 2017

An abstract blue pattern with numbers

By Ron Munden – June 26, 2018

The wait is finally over. Based on the numbers the City provided for my February 6, 2018 open records request and the three previous three requests, the numbers provided by the City show that the City lost at least $191,998 on WOL 2017. I say at least because the City said because of their accounting system they could not provide me the contract labor costs or the material cost for January 2018. So, no January costs are included for those items.

The $191,998 is based entirely on the numbers provided by the City. I did make one adjustment. The City uses $50,000 of hotel occupancy tax money to pay for WOL. They count this $50,000 as revenue. This is not revenue it is simply a transfer of money between two city accounts. No one gave the City an extra $50,000 for WOL. This is a zero-sum-game for the City. Therefore, deducted the $50,000 from the revenue the City reported.

As I mentioned there are several missing expense numbers from the numbers provided by the City.

When the Convention and Visitors Bureau operated as a 501c3 and produced WOL the City charged the CVB for electricity usage. As I recall the charge was around $35,000/year. Now that the City runs the festival it does not report electricity as an expense even though the City pays the bill.

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