Franklin TDA audit comes up clean

Macon Area Transit photo by Vickie Carpenter

Dan Finnerty – Contributing Writer

The Franklin Tourism Development Authority’s (TDA) monthly meeting on Nov. 14 kicked off with a presentation of the annual audit report. Lutchia Johnson, auditor, Martin Starnes, LLC, provided the report. The TDA’s overall position remains strong with a fund balance increase of $63,507, which is directly proportional to an increase in occupancy tax collected. Johnson offered that “this indicates people are coming to Franklin and staying here in our hotels, bed and breakfasts, and other rentals.”

A request from Macon County Transit for $4,870 in funding, in support of the Hiker Route shuttle service, was received and will be voted on at the January 2023 meeting. Last year’s funding was for $2,000. 

Although the two fall/Halloween-focused events already took place, TDA approved $2,000 each in funding for the Monster Mash on Main and Punk-ins in the Park events. Additionally, $2,500 was approved for the upcoming 9th Annual Ruby Drop, which is sponsored by Crabtree Family Enterprises, on Dec. 31, New Year’s Eve.

Information was also provided on the current marketing campaign, which showed the TDA performing well with the targeted emails, along with TikTok and YouTube videos. The report revealed an unmodified opinion, which essentially means the auditor was able to successfully conclude financial statements are free from material misstatement and presented fairly. 

Post-event reporting was received for information from the Folk Heritage Association of Macon County’s event held Aug. 22 and the NC Trail of Tears Association event on Sept. 20. The Conference and Symposium was reported as “the best attended event in the Association’s history.” Theresa Ramsey, treasurer for the Folk Heritage Association, also reported their event was well attended, with an estimated 3,500 people participating.

Kevin Covell was welcomed as the newest member of the TDA team. Covell is currently managing partner of Cleaver’s Steakhouse, which has been in business in Franklin since 2020.

The next TDA meeting is scheduled for Monday, Jan. 9, 2023 at 5:30 p.m. in the Town Hall Board Room. December’s regularly scheduled meeting was cancelled due to lack of quorum expected.