Chairman Byron Smith called the meeting to order at 7:00 am.
Don moved and Dan seconded to approve the meeting minutes from the regular Board meeting on September 29th. Motion carried unanimously.
Budget & Fiscal Reports
Byron pointed out the higher costs of temporary labor still within the overall allocated budget due to no current staffing.
Ed asked if we expect over budget temporary labor costs to continue to be so high, like janitorial.
Nate reiterated there are currently no paid employees, only contract based labor which comes at a premium. We will continue to pay at this pace, which is over budget, until we have a long-term agreement with full-time staff.
Ed moved and Vijay seconded to approve the September Financial Report. Motion carried unanimously.
Ed moved and Vijay seconded to ratify the October Disbursements that were approved 10/13/17 by email. Motion carried unanimously.
Vijay moved and Dan seconded to approve the November Disbursements. Motion carried unanimously.
Dan reported the parking lots have been mowed and seeded by Phil Hamm & the OSU Extension service with 3700 pounds of wheat donated by Randy Bracher & Bracher Farms. He requested Byron send thank you letters from the Board to both Bracher Farms and OSU Extension Service.
Dan shared Elmer’s Irrigation and Valmont have generously offered to donate all new, custom made wheel lines, hoses and risers (excluding the pump) and have them delivered by end November prior to Farm Fair. Each wheel line would be a quarter mile in length, five-foot wheels with brakes and water miser nozzles. The donors request a trade for the traveling gun as is, despite its needing repair.
Nate cautioned the receiving of donations and assets without a sense of purpose or knowing the costs to operate, implement and maintain these assets.
Ed moved and Larry seconded to accept the donation of two-wheel lines, hoses and risers (excluding the pump) from Elmer’s Irrigation and Valmont, in exchange for the traveling gun. Motion carried unanimously.
Dan shared the Horse Sale went well. He thanked David Bothum for a great job setting up the panels. We now know a good estimate of how long it takes to set up. The sale was successful and many compliments on the facility were received. We now have a total of 50 horse stalls for year-round use.
Ed requested a report of how many hotel rooms were booked in return for the marketing grant.
Nate reported visiting the Horse Sale from an operations standpoint, to determine actual staffing needs. Nate found we do have some exposure and will need to have actual staff on site during events to protect ourselves and to limit liability. Parking signage will need to be better handled and if back to back events occur, we will need to anticipate higher cleanup costs as the Horse Sale cleanup was handled primarily by donated labor.
Vijay reported we have collected $25,820 in the second quarter of the 2017-2018 fiscal year, about 15% lower than this time last year due to the fires in September and no overflow from Tri-Cities.
Byron stated the City will take a look at auditing the City’s reception of TPA & TRT funds.
Larry noted again how TPA collected funds are exceeding original expectations.
Nate reported exterior facilities are being winterized and repairs are being done inside & outside.
Operations- VenuWorks Presentation
Nate explained he was asked to look at policies, procedures, needs and long-term operations when he was brought on board as interim general manager. He shared the process he has undertaken since August, with the Board’s direction, arriving in bringing in VenuWorks to present this morning’s proposal.
Kim asked Nate to talk about the two models looked at for managing EOTEC.
Nate responded the first model included an unsuccessful search for a General Manager to run EOTEC and hire staff, the second model is to hire a management company to manage the facilities on EOTEC’s behalf. To that end, Nate introduced Corey Pearson of VenuWorks and his assistant Liz to present the proposal to hire VenuWorks, a management company, to manage the facilities.
Corey Pearson of VenuWorks introduced himself and VenuWorks, then reviewed highlights of the proposed contract with EOTEC. Nate asked VenuWorks to prepare a three-part analysis after gaining an understanding of the complex to include a full-time staffing assessment, a marketing inventory and analysis and an operational and capital needs assessment.
Corey then provided recommendations for improved efficiencies regarding full-time staffing, operations, marketing, food and beverage, events and entertainment and financial information.
Corey presented a three-year operating budget projection that leans heavily on marketing and building revenue opportunities, including future Board decisions regarding naming rights and contractually obligated income streams.
(7:58am Vijay exited & returned at 8:00am)
Corey emphasized that VenuWorks would not be taking over, they would be managing the facility for the Board and the Board would retain all control. VenuWorks would bring in the staff necessary to operate the facilities and do the hiring. VenuWorks prides itself on bringing in people from the community, and being a part of the community, they work in.
(8:00am Larry exited & returned at 8:05am)
Ed asked if VenuWorks would be conducting the necessary training for staff.
(8:01am Dan exited & returned at 8:04am)
Corey answered, yes, VenuWorks will provide all the training in addition to being proactive in setting up collaborative workshops with the Board and its primary tenants to assure everyone is on the same page.
(8:10am Don exited & returned at 8:13am)
After the presentation, questions answered and discussion held, Ed stated he feels VenuWorks is the right move for us at the right time and is supportive of the proposed agreement.
Ed moved and Kim seconded to contract with VenuWorks to manage EOTEC as proposed.
Kim stated he agrees and noted the expense of currently hiring Nate for the short-term at a high cost.
Nate stated this would be a positive, significant switch in the direction for this facility.
Dan shared he has known Corey & visited other facilities managed by VenuWorks and feels they are professionally ran. He asked questions regarding the naming rights and the 75k in contractual obligation income streams. His concern is with taking away monies from current events and sponsors.
Larry reiterated the bottom line is the City & County are responsible for EOTEC.
Byron noted TPA money could be used for deficit.
Vijay clarified the $115,000 TPA monies will replace the 40% toward marketing with this proposal, it will not be the $115k TPA and 40%. Vijay stated he has total confidence in VenuWorks, Corey and his team.
Mayor Drotzmann stated the City is supportive as they are aware of expected losses and additional monies needed in the first few years. He stated that from the City’s perspective it is exciting to see the proposed probability of breaking even and being positive by year three.
Dan and Ed both stated they would be more comfortable with a 3-year contract with possible extensions.
Nate pointed out bringing in VenuWorks and their experience reduces taxpayer risk and Larry agreed this is an advantage.
Ed clarified the motion and added an amendment - Ed moved and Kim seconded to have the sub-committee of Larry, Byron and Kim to go into negotiations with VenuWorks to prepare a proposed three-year contract to bring back to the Board at its November 21st meeting. Motion carried unanimously.
Operations- General Manager Report
Nate shared Gary Culp Machine’s temporary sign for EOTEC has weathered and he is open to the idea of new signage without a commitment @$100 per month plus $700 for the sign to be made.
The Board to look at more options and long-term placement. Nate to follow up with Gary Culp.
Larry presented the invoice from Silver Creek for the gravel placed in front of the barn for dust control prior to the Fair and Rodeo. Silver Creek donated some of the gravel and all of the trucking, with the remaining bill at $2900.00
Dan moved and Ed seconded to spend $2900.00 to pay for the gravel placed in front of the barns for dust control out of the operating budget. Byron nay, Kim abstained, motion carried.
David Bothum stated he believes VenuWorks will be a good move if they have the equine ability as they have stated.
The next regular meeting will be on Tuesday, November 21st, @ 7:00 am at EOTEC located at 1705 E. Airport Road, Hermiston, OR.
As there was no further business the meeting was adjourned at 8:57am.