After Gelisnger got elected to the board after a decades-long hiatus, the shopping association’s executive director announced the business improvement district was budgeting $435,000 for its 2014 expenditures.
The new direction of the organization also encouraged Kim Kelly, co-owner of Merle Norman Cosmetics, one of the top Merle Norman stores in the country, to run for a spot on the board.
“Now it’s a new regime,” she said. “I think more is getting done.”
Kelly was the top vote-getter wth 66 votes. Gelsinger got 58, pushing out incumbent Danny Prenata, who netted 39 votes. The new members will serve three-year terms.
In addition to several new faces joining the board since 2011, the organization’s Sunday farmer’s market has had consistently increasing revenues since the association cut ties with former Councilman John Drayman, who was indicted in 2012 on charges of embezzling at least $304,000 over seven years from the market.
For years, the shopping park association had trouble making ends meet because of the struggling market. Income from the market on the 2014 budget is forecast at $170,000. Association officials project it to close out 2013 at $173,000, a 6% increase from 2012 and a 16% increase from 2011.
In addition to the successful market, the shopping park made $55,800 through film shoots in the quaint shopping area along Honolulu Avenue that many compare to the fictional Mayberry. Despite the “banner year in filming,” the organization has forecast $40,000 from filming in 2014 as a conservative estimate, said Executive Director Dale Dawson.
The organization also has about $90,000 in reserves, money the board could use to plan new promotions, such as “Small Business Saturdays,” special events meant to draw shoppers to the area that have done well this year.
For 2013, the shopping park association budgeted roughly $525,000. The smaller budget this coming year is partially due to the fact that in 2013, the shopping park spent $60,000 on a Centennial Celebration, which the group considered a wash because they made roughly the same amount from the event as they spent on it.
The group, which is a quasi-governmental organization since the city establishes business improvement districts and collects assessments from businesses in the area on behalf of the shopping park association, is scheduled to present their 2014 budget to the City Council on Dec. 17.