The tourism committee met on August 9 with eight of the nine members present to discuss budgeting of the expected $143,220 from the bed tax, analysis of resources and what future projects could be completed.

The meeting was led by Josh McKim as President Aaron Dobson was unable to attend.

The first-year income of $143,220 will be higher than the ongoing projected tax revenue of $45,000 per year. Member Matt Gaarder made the suggestion that 50 percent be used to fund group requests for new activities at existing events.

City Manager Greg McDanel expressed concern that this would create reliance on these funds which will not be available in future years. The committee has more flexibility this year than it will have in the future.

Councilwoman Renee Riedel recommended the committee pick something that can be done quickly, so there will be a win in the first year. Discussion was held on the pocket park at Third and Main Streets being undertaken by the Downtown Maryville committee.

Suggestions were made to market all events and look for gaps to fill with a festival or event.

Line items suggested for the budget included projects, advertising, community requests, event support, traveling and training, contractual and reserves.

The committee will meet for a budget review at 4 pm, Wednesday, August 30.

The committee reviewed a strengths, weaknesses, opportunities and threats (SWOT) analysis. Strengths included Mozingo Lake Recreation Park, Northwest Missouri State University, central location, the new conference center, Hughes Field House, supportive community buy-in, reorganized downtown, strong industrial base, diverse retail, park and recreation system, quality of life, safe community, affordable cost of living and low unemployment.

Weaknesses were listed as limited highway access because of two-lane highways, small market and lack of identity, scenic natural resources, funding, marketing coordination, general tourism info and cool, nightlife downtown.

Opportunities included asset connections, rural experience, Northwest championships, athletic tourism, four-state location, NWMO Regional Airport and family tourism.

Threats listed were north St. Joseph shopping, projected Savannah growth and possible Northwest funding cuts.

The committee decided to reach out to the state tourism board for information and training.

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