Pine Bluff Convention Center Interim Executive Director Sheri Storie recommended raising prices on renting the convention center and its equipment to generate more revenue.


Storie made these comments Tuesday during a meeting of the Civic Auditorium and Complex Commission. She said the convention center saved about $5,000 through its recent contract with Snyder Environmental of North Little Rock on the removal of an old floor inside the banquet hall and through another contract with another company on the installation of a new floor. She said these two projects were supposed to cost a total of $50,000 and that the actual costs were about $45,000.


Storie recommended charging money to all parties to use the convention center even if they are hosting a public service event. She said the convention center is still paying its employees and paying for electricity and water to operate the building.


Storie recommended increasing rental rates because customers are willing to pay more money to use the building. She does not expect to lose customers by raising rates. Alderman Steven Mays asked for an itemized list of rental prices. Mays is not a member of the Civic Auditorium and Complex Commission.


Storie said she is charging $1,100 per eight hours to rent the banquet hall and $2,200 per eight hours to rent the arena. Other municipalities are charging more money to provide comparable services.


“People are shocked by our rates being low,” Storie said.


Commissioners Gary Wilson, La’Tasha Woods, Lisa Kosmitis and Wil Jenkins listened to Storie and approved her finance report. The commissioners did not pass any motions related to increasing rental prices. The Civic Auditorium and Complex Commission oversees the operations of the Pine Bluff Convention Center. Commissioners are appointed by the mayor and approved by the city council. Commissioners are not paid money. On the subject of searching for a new director, Kosmitis said that commissioners are scheduling interviews with candidates.


Commissioners Ethel Cogshell, Monique Benford and Tyra Johnson were absent.