The Crawford County Commission has approved a one-year deal with the Pittsburg Area Chamber of Commerce regarding the Crawford County Convention and Visitors Bureau (CVB).

The Crawford County Commission has approved a one-year deal with the Pittsburg Area Chamber of Commerce regarding the Crawford County Convention and Visitors Bureau (CVB).

The contract, which is reviewed annually, calls for the county to pay the Chamber $66,000 in 2011 for office space, supplies, staff and performance reviews of the CVB.

“We feel like we are really able to play off each other and that is a big benefit,” said Chamber President Blake Benson.

Commissioners also heard a review of 2010 from CVB Director Craig Hull through the month of November.

Hull said that area hotel occupancy had “done well” in 2010, especially in December when the county hosted events such as the Citizens Bank Bowl and 2010 Gorilla Wheelchair Basketball Invitational.

“The overall picture is up for this year and we have met our budget,” Hull said.

In November 2010, Hull reported that hotel occupancy was at 36.8 percent, but at 44 percent for the year-to-date. There were 23 state, regional and local sporting events brought to Crawford County in 2010, according to Hull.

“It’s too bad the state Legislature doesn’t realize those numbers when they consider things for southeast Kansas, like gaming,” said Commissioner Linda Grilz.

The county may also see an increase in its transient guest tax collection for 2010. The tax, which was increased from 2 percent in 2006 to 4 percent in 2007, has generated between $122,000 and $185,000 in the years since its increase. Numbers from the CVB show that the county saw a $21,000 increase in guest tax collections in the third quarter of 2010 from the same period in 2009.

But, Hull said that the market for bringing in sporting events is becoming ever-more competitive.

“There are a lot of cities in Kansas that are putting more and more money into getting those sporting events,” Hull said.

With regards to its budget, the CVB willl not increase its budget for 2011. They are expecting to use and spend $165,000 — all money collected from the transient guest tax — for marketing and salaries for the next year.

“I think its vital that they keep going in a positive motion,” said Commissioner Ralph McGeorge. “I’m glad that they did not ask for an increase because I really don’t think we could do that.”

Matthew Clark can be reached at matthew.clark@morningsun.net or at 620-231-2600, Ext. 140