Manor Head: ‘No Access’ to Doko’s Monthly Numbers

BLYTHEWOOD – At the Oct. 28 Town Council meeting, the Town’s CPA, Kem Smith, reported that the Doko Manor was in the red, operating at a deficit of more than $100,000 just six months after opening, and was continuing to sink further into financial despair with each passing week. She suggested that, to stop the bleeding, “We’ve got to increase rentals and the rates.”

Smith added, “We have to increase revenue. There is nowhere else to cut the fixed expenses.”

Monday night, Martha Jones, the Manor’s Events and Conference Center Director, who is responsible for the Manor’s rentals and rental rates, told Council that she is “now privy to some numbers and reports that will help us look at the actual costs and revenues of the Manor.” When contacted later by The Voice and asked what numbers and reports she was referring to, she said it was the Manor’s fixed costs, such as electricity and other utilities.

Asked why she was just now learning what those fixed costs are, Jones replied, “I didn’t have access to the monthly expenditures such as electricity and utility costs.” Asked whether she had ever sought those numbers, she said, “There was some conversation.” But when asked specifically whether she had ever asked for the fixed costs since being named to the post last January by the Mayor, Jones did not answer.

When contacted by The Voice and asked about the availability of information about the Manor’s revenues and costs, Smith said she sends a complete report of the Manor’s revenues and expenses to Town Hall every month and that anyone in Town Hall should have access to it. She also said she is always available to answer any questions concerning those reports. She said Jones had never come to her with those questions.

“Numbers are a clear and concise indicator of things,” Smith said. “You must always stay on top of your revenue and expenses when operating a facility like The Manor.”

Jones told Council Monday night that she had restarted the promotional plan that the Town had created almost a year ago with Big Eyed Bird for branding and promotion of the Town and the Manor.

“We should [soon] have some mockups of promotional materials with the intent of using those materials to approach and garner some rentals from organizations and businesses that will be more prone to use the Manor during the week,” she said.

Jones said she plans to have in place a new plan and rental rate chart by Dec. 16.

“We’re looking at rates and hours of other venues like the Columbia Convention Center and 701 Whaley,” Jones said. “We always knew we would eventually have to raise rates.”

Jones said she expects the Manor’s financial fortunes to turn around in two to three years.

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