St. James has cost $300,000 since last March due to salaries, supplies

Published 9:00 pm Wednesday, June 29, 2016

The city of Selma is shelling out about $25,000 a month to keep the doors of the St. James Hotel open.

That’s from an analysis of the hotel’s revenue and expenses since Strand Management quit overseeing day-to-day operations last spring.

Since the new budget year started in October, the St. James has brought in $275,035 in revenue but has cost the city $479,727 to operate. The difference is $204,692 through June 14 or just under $25,000 a month.

Salaries for hotel staff have set the city back $226,301 and make up 47 percent of total expenses so far this year.

The next single largest line item is supplies, which have totaled $167,868 since October and account for 35 percent of expenses. Other notable expenses include payroll taxes and utilities.

Revenue has varied this budget year from a high of $43,031 in March to as little as $21,959 in January.

The best month the hotel has had since Strand quit managing the St. James last spring was August, when the St. James brought in $55,173.

Expenses have varied from $83,341 this past March to $27,533 in October. However, just $200 worth of supplies was expensed in October. The average monthly supply expense since then has been almost $20,000.

The city has lost money every month but one since taking over the day-to-day operations.

The most profitable month was April 2015 when the hotel made $6,750 due to another month of low supply costs of $2,427. The worst months were September and December when the hotel lost approximately $44,900.

The Times-Journal staff filed a Freedom of Information Act request Wednesday afternoon at Selma City Hall seeking an itemized breakdown of supply and salary expenses since March.

The city council was expected to meet Wednesday to discuss listing the St. James Hotel with a national realtor.

The meeting comes after Selma native and Atlanta businessman Mark Peterson told the council that he is no longer interested in buying the hotel.

In backing away from the deal this week, Peterson said he disagreed with the city’s appraisal that put the hotel’s value at $900,000. He estimated it’s worth closer to $780,000.

Either way, Peterson said if he put that much money into the hotel he wouldn’t have sufficient funds to bring it up to par.

The appraisal company, Hotel Appraisers and Advisors, LLC, out of Chicago, said the St. James needs $6 million in renovations.