Thursday, the Cape Charles Town Council approved a Memorandum of Agreement (MOA) between the Town and Cape Charles Main Street, Inc. (CCMS). CCMS has been created and has
obtained tax-exempt status under Internal Revenue Code, Section 501 c (3). Since CCMS is now an independent organization, the Town Council disestablished the Community Enhancement Board (CEB) in April 2018.
Shelly Gorman, the Program Manager for the Cape Charles Main Street organization explains the details behind the budget and funding for the Cape Charles Community Enhancement Program.
We just wanted to make a public comment given there seems to be a lot of confusion and misinformation around our budget. So if you will indulge us, I wanted to give a high-level overview of what the budget represents.
Just to frame the budget overall- Everything that Cape Charles Main Street, Inc. does is for the Town of Cape Charles and by the community volunteers that generously donate their time to make us our best us. In fact, to date, we have over 100 Cape Charles residents actively engaged in this program.
We have, and will continue to have, a completely symbiotic relationship with the Town, Council, and staff.
Here are the major details:
– To start, $51,950 was re-appropriated from the FY18 budget given that the Community Enhancement Board (CEB, now CCMS) did not begin their work until August 2017 and did not have a strategic plan in place until mid-year, along with the fact the Program Manager didn’t start until January.
– The budget for the salary and associated taxes are for the Program Manager position. This position doesn’t come with benefits and the budget is structured as such.
– The “management consulting” fees are earmarked for the RFP that just went out to access real-time economic and market statistics about the town of Cape Charles that will both 1) provide a platform to have real numbers that allow for strategies that make sense moving forward for Main Street in a thoughtful and operationally sound way and 2) allow for solid statistics that we can use for grants, etc. They were crafted using best practices by VA Main Street, along with several important partners so we could capture, frankly, imperative data. 3) This data will be used in ways beyond the Commercial District designated by Main Street VA. For example if the town would be looking to bring a business on Stone road, this data could be used as useful information to the recruitment of that prospect.
– The IT software and systems include Maestro (which is an operational system built for Main Street communities), hosting for Cape Charles By The Bay, QuickBooks, etc. Basically, all of the systems needed to be operationally sound and track what is need for both the Town and capture statistics required as move towards official designation.
– Speaking of Cape Charles By The Bay, both the advertising and the marketing expenses in the budget are all related to that (roughly $25K). We inherited tactical marketing initiatives from the town that we are managing but not limited to rack cards, welcome center management, travel guides inclusion, maps, all public relations, etc. All of those fall under the marketing of the Town of Cape Charles not just Main Street. While we are currently in the process of submitting a VATC grant to deflect some of those charges. This is NOT newly budgeted dollars but in fact is money that was simply transferred over to the Main Street organization.
– The earmarked $15K for streetscape and design is for all of the changes that we are working on to beautify our Main Street. While we know this will only be a drop in the bucket, we will be actively seeking out grants to supplement as appropriate.
– The travel and conferences budget is for conferences that we are required to attend by VA Main Street, including committee chairs (depending on the relevant conference) and the Program Manager. These opportunities afford members of the team opportunities to learn from other Main Street Organizations and bring lessons learned back to CC.
– The branding initiative for the ENTIRE town of Cape Charles $35K is supplement by a grant awarded of $7K from DHCD, as we know you are all aware. $10K has been spent in FY 18, which is why it is reflecting $25K for the upcoming fiscal year. This is not a CC Main Street exclusive branding project, it is the first step in identifying a concrete branding message for the town, which does not currently exist.
– The $26K capital expense for wayfinding (we had initially asked for $68K) will happen after the branding initiative & the design committee strategic vision have been completed. The project will begin this fiscal year, but will continue into the next. Wayfinding has been a huge challenge for the town and Main Street is tackling it as a part of our holistic plan. Again, Wayfinding has been a part of the town’s budget in the past so we are now stewards of that money; this is not NEW money. We as a volunteer organization are working with the town staff and resources to fit this into our overall improvements.
As we are hoping you can see, every piece of our budget is earmarked for very specific, strategic and operational tactics dedicated to enhancing the Town of Cape Charles. We have appreciated the council and town’s partnership and support, along with the incredible community and will continue to drive these important initiatives to fruition. All of our committee meetings and board meetings are open to the public and are published on our Facebook page. We encourage the mayor, Town Council members, current and outgoing, as well as business owners, TOCC staff, etc..to be a part of this exciting time for the Town of Cape Charles.