FVA rejects compromise on manager payThe Frontier Village Association voted 4-0 Monday to turn down a compromise offered by the Buffalo City Tourism Foundation. The compromise was an offer of 18 weeks of funding for the FVA’s manager position, rather than the requested eight months of funding. BCTF denied that request April 20, after conflict involving the position arose between the two organizations.
By: Kari Lucin, The Jamestown Sun
The Frontier Village Association voted 4-0 Monday to turn down a compromise offered by the Buffalo City Tourism Foundation.
The compromise was an offer of 18 weeks of funding for the FVA’s manager position, rather than the requested eight months of funding. BCTF denied that request April 20, after conflict involving the position arose between the two organizations.
“You can’t just cut somebody off in the middle,” said Wade Williams, a member of the FVA board, at the FVA meeting Monday. “You need to let us know before we start, so we can make some other plans. Now we’re six weeks into (tourism season preparation) and they say ‘no, we’re not going to do it.’”
Bert Gray, FVA secretary/treasurer, said the Village had to pay for the work the manager had already done to prepare for the tourism season. The compromise offered by BCTF would not have been enough to both pay for the work already done and carry the funding through to the end of the tourism season.
“Frontier Village can’t exist and do everything they want us to do with a manager for four or five months a year,” said Charlie Tanata, FVA president. “It won’t work.”
Gray also expressed concern that the BCTF had not granted Frontier Village its requested entertainment funding, and had told FVA to have three more heavily-advertised performances in the amphitheater — one a month — rather than one less-advertised performance every week.
The BCTF made that decision April 20. Frontier Village opens for the tourism season on May 24.
“That entertainment, some of it’s booked a year out, and she had to cancel some of that,” Gray said. “And you can’t wait a month before a show to hire somebody, you’ve got to get them when you can get them.”
The Frontier Village Association meets again June 14, but the matter may be decided before then — at a special Jamestown City Council meeting at 4 p.m. Wednesday at City Hall.
Tanata requested the city’s Finance and Legal Committee to restore funding for the manager position on April 25. At that time, the city attorney was directed to determine whether the City Council has the legal authority to override or change BCTF’s decisions.
In an April 27 memo to Mayor Katie Andersen and the Jamestown City Council, City Attorney Ken Dalsted cited an agreement between the BCTF and city of Jamestown in his findings — that the City Council does have that authority.
“The City retains ultimate control over the expenditure of tax revenues, including those designated by the city to be administered by Buffalo (City Tourism Foundation),” Dalsted wrote.
The City Council’s options include asking the BCTF to reconsider its decision, directing the BCTF to fund the position or a modification of it, finding other sources of revenue to fund the position or approving the action the BCTF already took.
Contention between the FVA and BCTF has focused on Frontier Village’s manager position, currently held by Tina Busche.
Most of the FVA’s budget comes from BCTF grants, and must be requested on an annual basis. Requirements for those grants include financial documentation and event attendance counts.
BCTF says the FVA has not complied with all its requirements in the past, and paid for a forensic accounting report on the FVA. That report highlighted some areas for improvement, such as lack of a computerized accounting system and lack of segregation of financial duties.
The FVA has since begun using a computerized accounting system and reallocated some financial duties, Tanata said at the BCTF’s April 20 meeting.
Sun reporter Kari Lucin can be reached at 701-952-8453 or by email at firstname.lastname@example.org