On behalf of the Board of Directors for the Crescent City/Del Norte County Chamber of Commerce, I want to make you aware of the current budget discussions the City of Crescent City is having and how it affects your Chamber.
The Chamber receives funds from the city and the county for the operation of the Visitors Center and the Visitors Bureau. In addition, the city helps to fund the Fourth of July fireworks. In total, the city contributes $87,000 annually to the Chamber, broken down as follows:
andbull; Visitor Center, $36,000
andbull; Fireworks, $11,000
andbull; Visitor Bureau, $40,000
The city manager's 2013 budget proposal to the City Council lumps
together these three contributions, and subsequently reduces the annual
commitment to $50,000. This would equate to a loss of $37,000; roughly a
40 percent decrease.
I spoke at the city's June 18 Council meeting on behalf of the
Chamber. It was conveyed that the Chamber would not be able to keep
existing programs operating if the budget were reduced by 40 percent. I
suggested that a 10 percent cut would be manageable and still allow for
the Chamber to provide essential services.
The City Council agreed on a 3-2 to scrap the proposed 40 percent
cut following Councilwoman Schellong's motion to only reduce total
contributions to the Chamber by $10,000. However, we have learned that
the decision may change at the next City Council meeting as the Council
needs to discover more funding reductions to maintain its reserves at
The Chamber understands these are difficult times for our city and
our local businesses. However, we believe it is not the answer to cut
spending to those essential services that help bring over $104.4 million
dollars a year in direct travel spending to our local economy.
In 2010, $1.6 million in local sales tax receipts were generated by
travel spending. Is the answer to jeopardize the 1,590 travel-related
jobs in our community? Since 2001, transient occupancy tax revenue has
increased by 9.4 percent in Del Norte County, from $699,000 to
$1,210,000, even though the city contribution continues to decrease. The
Chamber and the Visitors Bureau are transparent and responsible with
our city dollars, and we have demonstrated a return on the investment of
public funds. (Dean Runyan California Travel Impacts by County, April
Tourism and the services the Chamber provides to support tourism in
our community are essential. We market to bring our next new visitor
here with the services of the Visitors Bureau and keep them here with
the services that the Visitors Center provides.
Our community's Fourth of July fireworks display is now known from
Vancouver to San Francisco, growing from humble beginnings to an event
that draws an estimated 25,000 people. Today's edition of the Triplicate
is rich with activities about the upcoming Fourth of July holiday.
Next year this activity may change substantially or disappear
altogether. Our city's investment of public funds has shown its worth
and it is time our city recognizes the importance it plays in its own
On behalf of the Chamber Board, I am asking each of you to help
campaign for our Chamber's survival. Can you please be present at the
Monday (June 2) Council meeting beginning at 6 p.m. to help support the
Chamber's position to continue providing essential services to the
Please share with our city your thoughts on these important services,
events and marketing we do for our entire community! Thank you for your
Mary Foote is the president of the Crescent City/Del Norte County
Chamber of Commerce.