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JULY 28, 1997

Local News

Tourism Partnership requests additional funds

  by Andrew Walgamott
   A Woodinville Tourism Partnership request for more funds raised the eyebrows of the City Council at last week's meeting. Jeffrey Shaw, member of the partnership and executive director of the Woodinville Chamber of Commerce, was asking for an additional $27,500 to pay for brochures, continued operation of the visitor center in City Hall, advertising and person-to-person networking. Already, the city has given the partnership $38,5999.08 of a pledged $55,000 in 1997.
   The City Council, pressed with rounding up money for the potential purchase of the Northshore School District's Sorenson complex later this year, asked members of the finance committee for a recommendation.
   "We're looking at every single expenditure with the idea that when we go after Sorenson, we're going to need every single dollar we can get our hands on," Mayor Bob Miller said. Councilmember Art Saulness, chair of the finance committee, said he has requested that city finance director Jim Katica see if there were funds available in the current budget to partially fund the partnership's request.
   Saulness said he was willing to fund the 'lure' brochures and person- to-person networking portion, which is estimated to cost $14,500. If no money can be found in the current budget, Saulness recommended the money be taken from the Council Contingency fund. Cut from the request would be the partnership's request for a visitor information center and media advertising funds.
   According to Shaw, the partnership is charged with promoting Woodinville through advertising, press releases, marketing pieces (visitors guides, lure brochures, special promos) conferences and networking.
   During the meeting, council members expressed confusion over the focus of the partnership program. "We, the council, don't have a clear idea of what we want out of the program," Councilmember Lucy DeYoung said. There was concern over how best to track results of the program's effectiveness as well.
   City Manager Roy Rainey proposed a resolution calling for tourist boards to present a clear financial and operation plan showing broad benefits to the community, and for the City Council to award "seed money," not continuing support, to that organization.
   The Tourism Partnership, made up of the Chamber of Commerce, local businesses and the city, has been in existence since 1995. According to Woodinville Finance Director Jim Katica, the city has given the partnership $8,000 in 1995 and $24,000 in 1996.