Budgets for the Pine Bluff Convention Center and the Pine Bluff Advertising and Tourist Promotion Commission were approved by commissioners Wednesday.

Budgets for the Pine Bluff Convention Center and the Pine Bluff Advertising and Tourist Promotion Commission were approved by commissioners Wednesday.

The $1.5 million Advertising and Tourist Promotion budget includes $895,872 to help operate the Convention Center, according to budget documents. The total 2012 Convention Center budget is $1 million.

Convention Center Director Bob Purvis said the 2012 budget for the Convention Center was essentially the same as the 2011 budget, with about $8,000 more in anticipated revenues. Purvis said advertising and promotion commissions across the state have increased their revenue predictions slightly for 2012 as compared to previous years, signaling a little more optimism about the public’s willingness to spend tourism dollars in the upcoming year.

Purvis said that a couple of months into 2012 — as long as the economic forecast does not dramatically change — he anticipates giving employees a 3 percent raise, which would be the first raise they have gotten in four years.

“The reason we’ve been able to keep expenses down is because they work so hard,” Purvis said during a finance committee meeting Tuesday, noting that the Convention Center finished 2011 with its budget in the black.

“So they deserve a raise,” Committee Chairman Joe Blackerby said.

The Advertising and Tourist Promotion Commission and the Civic Auditorium Complex Commission meet jointly. They manage funding for the Convention Center and funds that come from the Advertising and Promotion tax on hotel stays and prepared food.