Big week for the ACRA |

Big week for the ACRA

ASPEN Its top-paying member, the Aspen Skiing Co., pays $25,000 for membership. Its lower-rung members, with staffs of three or fewer, pay as little as $460.And those dues add up for the Aspen Chamber Resort Association, which collected nearly $540,000 in membership fees for the tax year beginning May 1, 2005, and ending April 30, 2006, according to the nonprofit’s most recently available Form 990 tax return, which gives it tax-exempt status.This week, ACRA is helping put on one of Aspen’s marquee events – the Food & Wine Magazine Classic. ACRA typically collects $30,000 to $40,000 from Food & Wine to help market the event, said Debbie Braun, ACRA’s executive director.Braun’s salary of $105,540 accounts nearly one-sixth of ACRA’s payroll of $637,949 for the most recent tax year. ACRA has 15 full-time employees, who work at its headquarters, its destination marketing department and its visitors center, Braun said.

According to the Form 990, ACRA had $1,763,556 in total revenue, compared to $1,764,990 in total expenses, resulting in a deficit of $1,434. ACRA began the tax year with a balance of $638,184, ending it with a balance of $605,418, records show. The change of $31,332, was the result of an equity adjustment, the Form 990 says.”We try to run a zero-balance budget so that the income and expenses will zero out to nothing,” Braun said. Aside from its payroll, ACRA’s other expenses include: $68,000 to Promo Aspen Inc., which handled ACRA’s marketing $78,252 to Words Pictures Colours Design, which handled ACRA’s printing and media kits $63,048 to Mitchell & Co. LLC, which handled ACRA’s Web redesign and support $31,732 to accounting fees $37,612 toward travel expenses $63,189 toward payroll taxes $19,174 toward postage and shippingThe Form 990 doesn’t reflect ACRA’s collection of the city of Aspen’s 1 percent lodging tax. ACRA collects half of that, while the other portion goes to the city’s transportation fund.Braun said that ACRA budgets for about $560,000 from the city bed tax.”That is kept in a separate set of books,” she said.Rick Carroll can be reached at

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