Agri-Business Center finishes 2015 in the black

The Blount County-Oneonta Agri-Business Center ended the 2015 fiscal year on Sept. 30, 2015, showing an increase in unrestricted net assets, or profit, of $67,502 on 2015 operations, according to the annual audit released March 15.

Included in income for the period was $29,560 in combined revenues from grants received from the city of Oneonta and the Blount County Commission. Subtracting grant revenue from total revenues, produced an actual profit from operations in 2016 of $37,942.

The 2015 results compare very favorably to 2014 results, which saw the center sustain a $105,462 loss, attributable largely to the fact that the center’s biggest revenue-producing event, the Blount County Fair, was scheduled too late in September to be reported as part of 2014 results. In addition, the 2015 Blount County Fair, returning to its traditional mid-September schedule, was highly successful, clearing $71,390, which appears to be the second-highest profit on the fair made in recent years.

The board of directors of the Blount County-Oneonta Agri-Business Association meanwhile worked hard throughout 2015 to reduce expenses while scheduling more events and a wider variety of revenue-producing events, while pursuing an aggressive cash-flow management strategy to bring the center to sustainable profitability.

The winning formula: successful old events, more new and varied events, better cost management, and diligent attention to cash flow equals a beloved county institution, which has struggled financially at times, perhaps able to sustain itself going forward without local government subsidy.