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Convention and Visitors Bureau contract gets OK from Aurora council

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Updated: March 3, 2014 4:23PM

AURORA — Aldermen unanimously approved the city’s scaled-back contract with the Aurora Area Convention and Visitors Bureau this week.

Under the new agreement, Aurora plans to contribute 90 percent of its revenues collected through the Hotel Operators’ Tax over the next two years to the bureau. That amount, though, would be capped at $175,000 annually, according to City Chief of Staff Carie Anne Ergo.

The city previously kicked much more money to the Visitors Bureau. In 2013, Aurora contributed an estimated $429,912 in hotel tax dollars and a $60,000 gaming fund grant to the organization. Aurora’s total contribution was 55 percent of the group’s total revenue in 2013.

On top of the $489,912 total direct commitment, the Convention and Visitors Bureau also received a $200,000 formula grant from the state because Aurora participates in the organization.

The bureau’s 2013 budget was $896,067, according to city documents.

Under the new agreement, 50 percent of all Visitors Bureau Board members will be direct appointees of Aurora’s mayor and Aurora officials would be actively involved in the bureau’s search for a new executive director. Aurora’s mayor will have final approval of the candidate prior to hiring, Ergo said.

The city announced plans to decrease Aurora’s financial commitment to the Convention and Visitors Bureau earlier this month.

Since 2006, Aurora has contributed more than $450,000 to the organization annually, according to Ergo.

In early November, Visitors Bureau leaders confirmed that Chris Hamilton, who served as the executive director of the bureau, was no longer employed with the organization.

The bureau currently represents 10 area communities: Aurora, Batavia, Big Rock, Hinckley, Montgomery, North Aurora, Plano, Sandwich, Sugar Grove and Yorkville.

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