Questions over Tourism Events Grants prompt proposed changes
Originally published Monday, March 12, 2018 at 06:00a.m.
New guidelines for awarding tourism-related grants to local organizations will be among the matters the Prescott City Council will consider during one of three meetings on Tuesday, March 13.
The meetings will include: A 10 a.m. closed-door executive session; a 2 p.m. study session; and a 3 p.m. voting session. All three meetings will take place at Prescott City Hall, 201 S. Cortez St.
During its 2 p.m. study session, the council will hear a report on the Tourism Advisory Committee’s proposed policy revisions regarding the award of money under the city’s Tourism Events Grants.
The grants, which come from bed tax revenues (paid by customers at hotels, motels, and other short-term rentals), go to local events that help to bring tourists to the community.
Community Outreach Manager John Heiney explained that the changes were being proposed to help clarify the process, which generated a number of questions in last year’s round of grants.
The questions centered mostly on the amount of money the various events were putting toward marketing of their events. In several cases, the committee recommended reducing the amount of the grant award because the organizations failed to show that they would use the money for marketing.
A city memo states: “During the (fiscal-year) 2018 grant-making cycle, council expressed concerns that the old criteria were too strictly interpreted, and perhaps the policy was not flexible enough to accommodate organizations that relied more on public relations or ‘earned media’ in their marketing plan.”
Heiney noted that while the grant guidelines would still focus largely on marketing, the revisions would make the process more flexible.
The proposed new policy emphasizes:
• Strong marketing, with a suggestion that a minimum of 75 percent of the award be used for marketing.
• Positive economic impact based on consumer spending, and “heads in beds.”
• Positive community impact, specifically cooperating with other community non-profit agencies.
A total of $30,000 will be available in the coming grant round, which is scheduled to get started in the coming week. The maximum award will be $5,000 per event, according to the memo.
During the 3 p.m. voting session, the council will:
• Consider reinstatement of a vision-insurance benefit for employees.
The city removed the vision insurance in 2010 in an effort to cut back on costs during the economic recession.
“Since that time, (vision insurance) is consistently the major request by employees when asked what the city can do to improve worker relations and retention …” a city memo stated.
The total premium cost for the benefit would be $160,000. Of that, employees would pay $57,000 – leaving a net budget cost to the city of $103,000.
• Hear a presentation from local resident Brent Hatch about prohibiting smoking in city parks.
• Hear an endorsement from Leland Fairbanks, M.D. for the Breathe Easy Prescott proposal.
• Hear a presentation from Peg Travers about pickleball.
• During the 10 a.m. execution session - Get legal advice from the city attorney on: use of eminent domain on a public works project; a contract claim on Alarcon Street; and a Dugan mineral rights claim affecting city-owned property north of Prescott.
Follow Cindy Barks on Twitter @Cindy_Barks. Reach her at 928-445-3333, ext. 2034, or email@example.com.