Chamber boosts budget
The Aspen Chamber Resort Association will boost its spending by about $98,000 next year, or 9.5 percent more than in the previous fiscal year.A chamber budget of $1,112,025 was approved last week at the organization’s annual membership luncheon. That is up from $1,014,000 for 2005-06. The organization’s fiscal year is May 1 to April 30.The chamber anticipates spending $35,000 more than it brings in. ACRA President and Chief Executive Officer Debbie Braun said the chamber will dip into reserves to cover the deficit. The chamber ended the 2005-06 fiscal year with a surplus of $68,555.The extra spending will be funneled to a major new guest services initiative called Faces of Aspen/Snowmass, according to Braun.”The board of directors agreed [that] to successfully launch this program, we would need one year of deficit spending to get it sufficiently on track,” Braun’s cover letter to the budget said. “We expect this program to be either self-supporting and/or to generate sufficient revenues to be continued in the future.”The bulk of the chamber’s income comes from membership dues. They will account for about $561,000 of the chamber’s income of $1,077,025, according to the budget. The other major revenue sources are grants and contracts for services, which will raise $230,000.Salaries and related expenses will account for $643,000 of the chamber’s spending, up from $582,650 last fiscal year. The organization’s general expenses will climb from $431,350 to $469,000.The budget doesn’t reflect a marketing fund which is generated by a town lodging tax. That tax will raise an estimated $500,000 to $550,000 this year.