Council renews talks on tourism promotion
Glenwood Springs City Council tonight will consider whether to take a more hands-on or hands-off approach to the handling of its tourism promotion fund.Among other considerations, it may decide whether a newly created Tourism Promotion Board that now advises the Glenwood Springs Chamber Resort Association should be advising the city instead.The city long has contracted with the chamber to handle tourism promotion. However, City Council last year decided it would put the 2007 contract out for bid after the city raised concerns over the chamber’s administration of the fund.The city even suspected the chamber of possibly overbilling under the contract, but later dropped an investigation into the matter. The chamber denied the allegation.The tourism fund is paid for by a 2.5-cent lodging tax that is expected to generate about $526,000 this year.Last year, some chamber members who are involved in the tourism industry also voiced reservations about the job the chamber was doing with the contract. In response, the chamber created the Tourism Promotion Board, appointing tourism industry representatives to it. The board oversees the marketing budget.In a recent memo to council, city manager Jeff Hecksel said the city had a Tourism Promotion Board prior to 1989 with many of the responsibilities of the current one. However, council eliminated the board after deciding it wasn’t needed and the chamber could deal directly with council.Hecksel believes there is a need for a board now, but said in his memo, “a question to be raised is whether the board should be advisory to the city or to the chamber.”As the city prepares to seek proposals for tourism promotion, it needs to ask what it wants to achieve with the funds, and what role, if any, the city should play in bringing about the desired results, Hecksel wrote.One option is for the city to absolve itself of any role in the process, he said. He cited as examples the city’s current arrangement with the Center for the Arts and Frontier Historical Museum. Both receive city tax proceeds, and their directors are city employees, but the city has no oversight over their operations.Hecksel also has provided council with examples of how several other communities handle tourism promotion funds.”Many of these Tourism Promotion Programs allow for an application process to fund tourism promotion activities,” he wrote. “The application process allows funding for advertising, special events meant to bring people to the destination, and capital to fund tourism facilities.”Most of the programs have an advisory committee serving the governing body.Council is scheduled to discuss the tourism fund tonight at a 6 p.m. work session.Council lineupOther matters scheduled for consideration by Glenwood Springs City Council today include: Formal action on a proposal to institute a moratorium on development in the south part of town, and where city utilities are requested outside city limits in that area. The purpose of the moratoriums to give the city time to make some decisions on issues including transportation and its sewer system. Consideration of approval of a letter indicating the city would be willing to provide sewer service to the proposed 189-home Reserve at Elk Meadow subdivision outside city limits up Four-Mile Road. The service would be contingent on first adequately addressing the above-mentioned sewer and transportation matters. Adoption of a compensation plan for city employees. Making annual appointments to existing city boards and commissions, as well as to a new ad hoc committee to work on a proposed city whitewater park in West Glenwood. Discussion of a request by the Downtown Business Association to leave downtown’s holiday “twinkle lights” on year-round, for reasons of ambiance and security.Council will hold a preparatory meeting at 11 a.m., a closed-door meeting on a personnel matter at 5 p.m., work sessions on the employee compensation plan starting at 5:30 p.m., and a regular meeting at 7 p.m. All meetings will be held in council chambers at 101 W. 8th St.
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Policy that dictates what for-profit activities should be officially sanctioned within Glenwood Springs parks is being reviewed by city staff and will likely come before the city council for final approval later this summer.