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Culver City Wants More Information : Visitors Bureau Plea for 40% Budget Hike Stalled

Times Staff Writer

The Culver City council has delayed its decision on a budget increase of nearly 40% for the Convention and Visitors Bureau, requesting details about the services the bureau provides and suggesting that it consider soliciting contributions from hotels in the city.

The council also asked the bureau to reconsider its plan to move from offices it shares with the Chamber of Commerce to a more expensive location in the new Filmcorp building. The move is scheduled for August.

The bureau, which is funded entirely by the city, in April requested an increase in its annual budget from $180,000 to $250,000. The bureau also requested that the City Council give it an annual 5% cost-of-living increase over the next five years.

Consultants hired by the bureau estimated that the city could realize nearly $2 million in increased hotel tax and sales tax revenue by 1991 if the bureau had the 40% increase in its budget with which to better promote tourism and conventions in Culver City.

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Kay Briski, executive director of the bureau, which was opened in 1983, said it has been successful during its short tenure. The number of conventions and meetings in Culver City has risen from 58 in the first half of 1984 to 336 so far this year, she said.

According to bureau figures, total convention spending jumped from $3.2 million in 1984-85 to $6.7 million in 1985-86. Hotel and sales tax revenue to the city increased from $130,000 to $267,500.

Briski said the bureau needs the budget increase to expand its efforts to attract visitors to Culver City in an increasingly competitive market among hotels close to Los Angeles International Airport.

Major hotels recently have opened in Marina del Rey and El Segundo; others are planned in Santa Monica, Redondo Beach and Manhattan Beach, she said.

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“The hotel industry is overbuilt. The demand is not keeping up with the supply,” she said. “We definitely want to accelerate our sales efforts.”

The bureau, however, has no plans to ask the hotels to contribute directly to its budget.

“It would be nice to have that participation from the private sector, but I don’t know if we could depend on a substantial increase in our budget if we depended on them for the increase,” she said.


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