Council decides to keep tourism marketer for 2009

The Sequim city council decided at its Dec. 15 meeting against seeking proposals for a marketing coordinator for 2009, concluding it was too late in the process for next year.

So the city will extend its current $11,000 contract with InsideOut Solutions for one year while it studies requests for proposals issued by other cities.

The 2009 city budget includes $11,000 for the city's marketing coordinator and $53,234 for tourism-related advertising expenses associated with the contract.

The funding comes from the city's $140,000 in annual hotel/motel taxes, which come from 0.4 percent of the sales tax paid by visitors to the city's hotels, motels, bed and breakfasts and other lodging establishments.

At its Dec. 8 meeting, the council had decided to issue a request for proposals for a marketing coordinator with a contract beginning in March 2009.

City Councilor Ken Hays said these contracts should be longer than one year or else reviewed annually, not just automatically renewed every year.

"This doesn't look at opportunities for tourism," he said.

The contract should be for multiple years and includes identifiable goals, he said.

It's not that he wants another company besides InsideOut Solutions to have the contract, but that the contract should contain measurable goals, Hays said.

These are important dollars to be spent, so the results should be identified, he said.

City Councilor Walt Schubert said the contract should be extended because there should be continuity in the program as they go through this re-evaluation process.

InsideOut Solutions owner Pat McCauley told the council it wasn't a good year to be changing horses in midstream, given the upcoming six-week closure of the Hood Canal bridge.

It's difficult to plan with a month-to-month contract as was proposed, she said.

City Councilor Paul Mc-Hugh said since it is too late in the process, the contract should be extended for a year while a request for proposals is prepared.

Mayor Laura Dubois said perhaps the contract could be two or three years long but the timing is too rushed. The city staff should bring back a review of other cities' requests for proposals, she said.

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