Wakeup call

Doubling a budget just isn’t the way to be a responsible promoter

Everyone’s heard the “Wall Street to Main Street” cliche that gets used in all kinds of circles, nowadays. It plays off the perception there’s a “big city” and “small town” way of doing business.

Rockdale had a brush with what might be interpreted as the big city way last week when the city council found out Orasi Development, its promotional firm, was $30,000 over a $32,000 budget to stage a pair of Fair Park concerts.

Now, promoting Rockdale is a noble and needed task. Goodness knows this post-Alcoa town needs some promotion and anything to kick start it is welcome.

But the Tourism Committee that was supposedly Orasi’s boss used words like “appalled” about the overruns and the city council followed suit. The person in charge of promotions for the company has stepped down and you can bet the council will address whether it wants to continue using that firm at a future meeting.

It needs to be said that the money involved doesn’t come from local taxpayers. It’s from the hotel-motel tax fund that’s collected from visitors.

Part of the reason the Tourism Committee was so shocked was that they didn’t know about any overruns until finally getting some financial data from Orasi during the previous week.

They went right to the council, upon learning the grim news, and the committee chair apologized to the city.

The committee, however, wasn’t to blame. They are all “bottom line” local business people who wouldn’t dream of doubling a budget and writing it off to being aggressive in search of a well-meaning goal.

Those committee members, all volunteers donating their own time, have set about to fix all that can be fixed in the budget overruns.

Bottom line. Osasi’s effort is off to a very rough start. The first concert promoted by Orasi was not a success by anyone’s definition. Let’s hope this was a wakeup call.

If this was the big-city Wall Street approach, maybe it’s time for a good dose of small-town Main Street.—M.B.

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2013-09-19 digital edition

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