Last week, the Owensboro-Daviess County Convention & Visitors Bureau approved an $815,480 budget that anticipates a 3.66% increase in revenue from its tax on hotel rooms.

The 2019-2020 fiscal year looks very good, Kyle Aud, board chairman, said after the meeting.

"There are more meetings and conventions scheduled for the 2019-20 and 2020-21 fiscal years than we had in 2017-18 and 2018-19 fiscal years," Tim Ross, the city's public events director who is rotating off the CVB board, said later. "Some of those are larger conventions that rotate through different cities around the state and will be returning to Owensboro for the first time in a few years."

Laura Alexander, general manager of the Owensboro Convention Center, said, "Our 2020 and 2021 years look outstanding with the return of several large conventions like Kentucky League of Cities and new conventions such as Kentucky Water & Waste Water Operators and Kentucky United Methodist -- and there are still more in the works."

She said the Kentucky League of Cities will bring more than 350 people to town in September 2020, the water and waste water operators will bring 700 in April of 2021 and the United Methodists will bring 1,500 in June of 2021.

Mark Calitri, CVB president, said the Kentucky Association of Police Chiefs will be here in July, the Kentucky Cattlemen's Association will return in January and the Kentucky Extension Homemakers Association will be here in April.

The Kentucky Public Procurement Association is slated to meet in Owensboro in October 2020, he said.

Calitri said Kentucky is highlighting 2020 as the "Year of Music."

That should help bring more people to the Bluegrass Music Hall of Fame & Museum and other music venues like Friday After 5, he said.

Brand USA, which promotes U.S. tourism in other countries, has named Owensboro one of its Top 10 American music cities and is already promoting it to international travelers.

Chris Joslin, executive director of the Hall of Fame, said earlier that the Hall is planning three or four outdoor bluegrass shows downtown starting in 2020.

The CVB budget anticipates $751,500 from the 3% room tax on hotels.

That's up from the $725,000 projected in the 2018-19 budget.

Aud said he expects the total revenue received from the tax in the fiscal year just ending to be about $726,000.

The total $815,480 budget is up from the $788,250 budgeted a year ago.

The biggest change for the coming year is an increase in payments to the state retirement system.

That amount the agency pays the state is slated to increase from $59,500 to $79,963 because the state raised the percentage of staff pay that the agency has to contribute from 21.48% to 24.06%.

The marketing budget is being increased from $157,396 to $172,000.

Keith Lawrence, 270-691-7301, klawrence@messenger-inquirer.com

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