Fight for survival continues for Boise Convention and Visitor's Bureau

Fight for survival continues for Boise Convention and Visitor's Bureau

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by Nishi Gupta

Idaho's NewsChannel 7

Posted on August 30, 2010 at 8:48 AM

Updated Tuesday, Nov 12 at 8:51 PM

BOISE -- The organization responsible for marketing the city of Boise is still fighting for its survival, and more money.

This week, the Boise Convention and Visitors Bureau will lose some important funding -- threatening its very existence.

Last month, the Boise Auditorium District suspended the bureau's funding, which many believed would cause it to dissolve.

The Boise mayor stepped in and urged both sides to work out a compromise.

Now, lawyers for the two parties are talking.

The bureau is hopeful, and in the meantime, is going to great lengths to survive.

While they wait to hear the outcome involving its future, the bureau is still open for business.

Employees moved into donated office space and have decided to keep working for the bureau for free.

"We'll go on as long as we can you know, until we absolutely financially can't," said Terry Kopp of the Boise Convention and Visitors Bureau.

Terry Kopp is one of ten employees at the Boise Convention and Visitors Bureau who cannot walk away from the job.

For decades, the Greater Boise Auditorium district has held the bureau's purse strings, but in July, decided to close the purse permanently.

Without it, bureau employees don't collect a salary and will likely go on unemployment.

Kopp and her colleagues keep working anyway.

"We have a lot of clients that we've been working with. We still have a lot of interest in Boise. We just returned from a trade show where we picked up requests for proposal for groups that are interested in coming to Boise so we still are moving ahead. We're doing the same job we did before. Just without the pay, without the pay," said Terry Kopp of the Boise Convention and Visitors Bureau.

The bureau recently received a $328,000 grant that can only be used to pay for programs, not salaries.

The mediation meetings hold the key, and the bureau's employees remain hopeful.

Money from the auditorium district runs out at the end of the month, and the bureau had to leave it's old office on Front Street.

It now works out of space donated by the Owyhee Plaza Hotel.

"We won't be full time employees here. We will be searching for full time jobs and we're essentially treating this as a volunteer job for us," said Terry Kopp of the Boise Convention and Visitors Bureau.

The auditorium district cited several reasons for suspending the bureau's funding last month.

Some board members thought it would save money to market the area with their own employees instead of using the bureau to do it.

They also had concerns the bureau was not reporting taxable fringe benefits as earnings and was using bureau credit cards for personal use.

Attorneys for the both the auditorium district and the bureau have met with a mediator.

Those meetings are expected to continue, and it's unknown when a final decision will be made.

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