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City awards more funds for tourism


The Electric City Council voted to give the chamber of commerce another $10,000 from its hotel/motel tax fund last week.

The Grand Coulee Dam Area Chamber of Commerce had asked to be on the agenda for June 9, was for a short period, and then found that they had been taken off the agenda because of all the things the council had to consider that Tuesday night. As it was, the monthly council meeting lasted well over two hours.

The council’s hotel/motel committee, made up of Brad Parrish and Richard McGuire, had met and recommended to the council that it do nothing with the chamber request.

The council spun that around and eventually voted 4-0 to provide the additional $10,000.

When the chamber learned they were off the agenda, and that they could only speak during the public comment period (speakers allowed only three minutes) they fired up a phone campaign to council members. That apparently worked.

The chamber had long argued that the city had cut the amount it gave from hotel/motel tax funds from the 2014 level by $10,000.

That had crunched the chamber’s budget and officials and members of the chamber had been to several council meetings asking for the supplemental $10,000.

Speaking for the chamber interest at the meeting were Secretary Debbie Starkey, who read a prepared statement, director Peggy Nevsimal and President Kerry Higgins.

The chamber had commented on how well its marketing program had worked, citing record numbers of visitors. Council members commented that they knew the chamber was doing a good job, but until Tuesday night were reluctant to provide the $10,000 requested. The city has $280,000 in its hotel/motel account, which must be spent to promote tourism.

The chamber’s request was urgent since there is only a limited time left to prepare and schedule television ads to attract visitors to the coulee area for this summer season.

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