February 22, 2012 | LXXI, No. 47

Good suggestion still misses the point

The mayor of Coulee Dam would like help from other towns putting on the annual July 4 festivities. He should get it, and be willing to take the concept several steps further.

Mayor Quincy Snow notes the expense of putting on the entertainment. On the cheap, it’s around $15,000 by the time you add up band expenses, staging and lighting and sound technicians. He’s right to think the town shouldn’t put all of it on without help. He’s not quite right in thinking that it does.

Coulee Dam has not been alone in funding the annual event. The overlooked expenses funded by other towns included more than $6,000 in advertising last year. It doesn’t do any good to throw a party and keep it a secret, after all.

But all those expense facts, although accurate, miss the bigger point: the entire area benefits from the festival in Coulee Dam, just as the entire area benefits from the Colorama festival in Grand Coulee. Being picky about who funds what is counterproductive, and Snow’s point should lead to a bigger discussion about cooperation between the three local towns that collect hotel/motel taxes, which have to be spent on promoting the tourism industry.

To its credit, Electric City has instituted an advisory board to guide their city council in the expenditures of such funds. That’s a good thing because someone is now officially considering how to use that money.

But neither Electric City, nor Coulee Dam, nor Grand Coulee exists on some kind of tourism market island, unaffected by the others. The area is one market and needs one overall plan for using the funds to build the tourism industry. The governing statutes specifically allow such cooperation between the towns for this purpose.

The three municipalities should get together, officially, to marry their hotel/motel fortunes into one strategy that benefits all.

Scott Hunter

editor and publisher

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