The Auburn City Council unanimously approved a contract to pay the Auburn Downtown Business Improvement District $90,000 to operate the the Equal Rights Heritage Center from its scheduled opening at the end of October through June 2019.
BID Executive Director Stephanie DeVito will work at the center as the operations manager, in addition to her role as head of the BID. She will oversee the operations of the building and the staff members.
The city budgeted $147,365 in general funds for the current fiscal year’s budget to run the center. Of that, $90,000 will go the BID, $30,000 will be for utilities, $10,000 to pay city staff to maintain the building and $5,000 for operating supplies, City Clerk Chuck Mason explained to The Citizen on Monday. About $10,000 has been set aside in case of unforeseen expenses. In April, the city received a $50,000 grant from the state to put toward operating costs.
Most of the money paid to BID will go toward hiring one full-time visitor experience manager and between two and six part-time and seasonal staff members, Mason said Thursday during the city council meeting.
“Being that it’s a visitor information center and tourism center, it’s a people business and will require hiring people to be able to work and be in the building,” Mason said.