The authority’s board unanimously adopted a budget Wednesday that projects a nearly 11 percent increase in revenue, jumping from $10.2 million to $12.4 million. The budget will go into effect Oct. 1 when the authority’s new fiscal year begins.
The authority will use $10.2 million for operating expenses, a 1.4 percent increase from last year, and has accumulated $10.7 million in its reserve fund.
Improving revenue trends across all revenue categories is the primary driver of the increase in fiscal year 2014, said Karen Caro, spokeswoman for the authority.
The authority was created by the General Assembly and its board governs the Cobb Galleria Centre, Cobb Energy Performing Arts Centre and Galleria Specialty Shops. Operations are funded mostly through space rental, catering and concession sales, building services charges, ticket sales and sponsorships. Debts are paid for by a portion of the hotel-motel tax, which is collected by Cobb and its cities.
Raises are appropriate, said Earl Smith, board member, because the authority is seeing more revenue and savings across the board.
He says the authority is faring just as well or better than it was at this time last year.
“To me, that kind of gives a lot of credit to the management and to the employees,” Smith said.
Jerry Nix, board chairman, said the authority is doing well financially coming off the heels of the Great Recession.
“Our responsibility is to make sure these facilities are well maintained and that we are seeing revenues … and we’re doing that despite the recession we’re coming out of,” Nix said.
About $66.6 million is owed by the authority on the Galleria Centre and another $57 million is owed on the Performing Arts Centre, according to the most recent audit done in September 2012.
Michele Swann, the authority’s CEO, receives a base salary of $175,675 and benefits including 25 paid vacation days, up to 120 hours of sick-pay accrual and 10 paid holidays annually.
Swann’s contract also allows for a bonus of up to 25 percent of her base salary, which would be $43,918.