PARKERSBURG - Donna Rusche, committee co-chairman for the Mid-Ohio Valley Regional Airport Air Expo asked Wood County commissioners for an additional $22,000 to help pay debts from the Oct. 14 event.
The county has already contributed $17,500 to the air show. Back in March, county records show approval of a $10,000 donation to the air show; $5,000 of that was to come from contingencies and $5,000 from the hotel/motel tax innovative grant fund. An additional $7,500 was then donated to the air show out of the county's year-end budget funds. For the 2010 air show the county allocated a total of $25,000.
"There were three factors we had no control over, the fuel, the weather and people," Rusche told the commissioners during a meeting Thursday to update the county officials on this year's air expo.
Photo by Pamela Brust
A request for an additional $22,000 for the 2012 Air Expo was submitted to Wood County Commissioners Wayne Dunn, Steve Gainer and Blair Couch during a meeting Thursday. The county has already contributed $17,500 for the expo, which was held on Oct. 14.
Rusche said sales of soda and ice were down due to the weather. She said parking at the site had been set at $10 this year, it was $15 previously.
For the first time, donations were sought at the gate. There had earlier been some discussion about charging admission to this year's show, but it was decided to seek donations and not charge admission this year.
"The shuttles we provided were well-used, especially from Marietta. The willingness of people to give at the gate indicates they are willing to pay and we will consider charging admission next time," she said. Rusche said approximately $2,000 was collected through donations.
She said insurance for the air show went from $3,400 to $5,750 due to crashes at other air shows. She noted transportation costs had gone up by about $3,000.
"We consider the air show overall to have been a success," she said, "we have received good feedback. We did have someone ask for their money back because we had no military acts, but we have no control over that. They just weren't available," she said.
"We are asking for an additional $22,000 to cover fuel, transport, for the additional buses and other costs," she told commissioners.
"I personally have a problem with that," Commissioner Wayne Dunn said.
Rusche noted some sponsors also pulled out days before this year's show, amounting to a loss of about $15,000.
Commission President Blair Couch asked Rusche to provide the commissioners a financial report and budget for review before they make a final decision on the request.
"We have maxed out at donating $25,000 in the past," Couch noted.
Event organizers estimated between 23,000-24,000 attended the event. Shuttle buses were offered from locations in Parkersburg and Marietta, Ohio.