With the fiscal year coming to a close in September, the Richard M. Borchard Regional Fairgrounds is on track to meet its budget for a second straight year.
Preliminary reports provided by Steve Waterman, with the Nueces County Court Administration, show the fairgrounds on pace to meet its budget by $6,307, down slightly from the $10,000 positive variance from last year.
County leaders had budgeted for expenses to be at $855,855 this fiscal year, but the report, which had figures up through June, estimates expenses to wrap out the year at $849,548. With the facility having finished in the red for two years prior to last year's positive turnaround, the change is one that benefits taxpayers, said fairgrounds general manager Jason Green.
"I'm happy with our progress, but I think we can do better," he said.
Green, who works for Global Spectrum, the company managing the fairgrounds, said the firm has made strides to bring larger, multi-day events to the facility over the past year. Some of those new events include the Mobile Tech Expo, which will take place in January, and the World Series of Team Roping, which was held in April and May.
The fairgrounds also lost the Corpus Christi Hammerheads last year, but gained a new roller derby league, the Crude City Roller Derby, that is in the midst of its first full season at the facility.
Multi-million dollar expansion and improvement projects are also ongoing at the fairgrounds, which include adding more seating and space to the Equestrian Center, as well as recreational vehicle spaces that will provide more incentive for exhibition shows that require vendors and buyers to stay in one city for more than a day.
This would result in a great economic impact to the surrounding area, Green said, which has already been evidenced by the increase in sales tax revenue for the City of Robstown since the facility opened in 2007.
The fairgrounds' Convention Center has also seen a number of local companies and organizations make use of the facility for business luncheons and meetings, Green said. That has been the result of making sure those corporate entities realize the facility is available and more than capable to host those events, he added.
"A lot of times when people think of the fairgrounds, they don't realize we have this great convention center here," Green said. "So, we've been really trying to get the focus out there about that. That was one goal of ours was to get the word out."
With revenue predicted to finish about $116,000 short of the $574,850 mark the county set at the beginning of the fiscal year, Green said a bad economy is one hurdle the fairgrounds will have to overcome next fiscal year. However, with about 23 new events added or upcoming, many of which are multi-day events that draw large crowds over 1,000 to the facility, Green said he is optimistic about next year's results.
"Once (the improvements) get developed, I think it will be easier to handle those types of events and we'll be able to get more events like that," he said. "Word of mouth has really started to spread about the improvements coming inůso that will help as well."