CVB facing funding cut in 2020

BISMARCK, N.D. - One of the agencies tasked with attracting visitors to Bismarck and Mandan is facing a funding cut next year.

In 2018, more than 5,000 people trekking through the area stopped at the Bismarck-Mandan Convention and Visitors Bureau to learn about the area. And if they're spending the night at any of the hotels around town, they're also helping to fund the bureau and putting millions of dollars into the economy.

“It's a large amount of out-of-state money that's injected into our economy so that we're not just relying on the citizens here for the sales tax,” CVB CEO Sheri Grossman said.

But the CVB is looking at a cut in 2020. For the last 10 years, they've received 85 percent of the 2 percent lodging tax. For next year, they'll only be getting 75 percent from the city of Bismarck.

“If we do the status quo and event numbers are going down and people coming to our city is going down, what can we do to reinvigorate that?” Commissioner Greg Zenker said during the city’s budget meeting.

Grossman says some other cities in the state receive 100 percent of the tax, and this puts her staff at a disadvantage as they'll be losing $80,000-90,000 next year.

“We're going to continue to work with the city as we have always and work to bring more tourism here,” Grossman said.

Grossman says they'll have to cut back on some marketing tools, working to bring in conventions and events. Grossman says those brought in more than $31 million last year.

The other portion of the funding goes to the Bismarck Event Center to market and work to bring in events there.