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Visitors bureau grants special event allocations

By Paul Huggins ∑ 340-2395

Seven special events will share $21,750 allocated by the Decatur-Morgan County Convention and Visitors Bureau board.

The appropriations are as follows: Alabama Jubilee Hot Air Balloon Classic and Spirit of America, each $5,000; Miss Point Mallard Pageant $3,750; Riverfest $3,000; Southern Wildlife Festival $2,000; and Wet Dog Triathlon and Battle for Decatur, each $1,500.

The bureau started a new policy for fiscal year 2007-08 whereby special events must submit a written request for money so the board can review all at once and distribute dollars deemed available.

The board said the policy shows more accountability for tax dollars and deflects accusations of favoritism.

The city used to fund the special events out of the general fund but passed that responsibility to the bureau last year when it gave it an extra 25 percent share of lodging tax collections.

Bureau President Tami Reist said the allocations donít include money the bureau spends advertising the festivals as well as clerical assistance and bureau staff liaisons.

For example, Riverfest will receive $5,068 in advertising this year, while Southern Wildlife Festival will receive $2,950 in advertising.

All events also receive up to $500 in postage expenses, and the bureau spends $2,725 annually to promote all local events in the Alabama Vacation Guide and Alabama Mountain Lakes Associationís Compass magazine.

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