Budget approved for Augusta Convention Center

By: Ryan Houston Email
By: Ryan Houston Email
The budget for the Augusta Convention Center is one step closer to getting the final OK. (WRDW-TV)

The budget for the Augusta Convention Center is one step closer to getting the final OK. (WRDW-TV)

News 12 First at Five / Monday, Feb. 11, 2013

AUGUSTA, Ga. (WRDW) -- The budget for the Augusta Convention Center is one step closer to getting the final OK. The Finance Committee voted unanimously to add it to next week's consent agenda.

"We've got shows two weeks from now. We have to have people to operate the shows," said President of the Augusta Riverfront Partnership Paul Simon.

"I haven't voted for anything on the TEE Center. I don't intend on doing that for the tenure the TEE Center is in operation," said Commissioner Alvin Mason.

It could be a problem since the Augusta Convention Center will need an approved budget from commissioners.

"Starting any new business, you gather the best information, you're going to spend on heat, light and power, any of those costs," said Marriott General Manager Darryl Leech.

Leech will oversee things at the convention center. He brought his attorneys in to help answer questions commissioners have on their budget.

"We've done a lot of research on it. We've gone pretty close, but are we exact now. It could be more or less. We don't know," Leech said.

The budget is pretty specific. It has details on labor costs, department expenses and gross profit. It also shows an $800,000 projected revenue loss.

''It's a starting point. You got to start somewhere," Leech said.

"I'm not going to vote on something that will saddle us with an almost $1 million deficit. It's unfortunate for the citizens of Augusta-Richmond County," Mason said.

The Augusta Convention Center will have its first week of events starting Feb. 24. They have seven events planned and are expecting 3,500 people to attend.

The Augusta Visitor's Bureau estimates the economic impact for those events at $25,000.

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