Just look around the community today: It’s full of fun and festivities that have brought out thousands of people for the 73rd Azalea Festival.
Which, we want to remind members of the Brookings City Council, is organized and promoted by the Brookings-Harbor Chamber of Commerce.
Push came to shove between the chamber and the city council recently as they tried to renegotiate the longstanding agreement under which the chamber uses a chunk of the city’s motel taxes to promote the community. The agreement is being allowed to expire, with the city planning to recreate the wheel instead of using the chamber’s resources and award-winning expertise.
It wasn’t, city councilors say, that they felt the chamber was doing a bad job. And it wasn’t, says the chamber, that they don’t want to continue doing the job. In fact, the chamber went to some effort to outline a new five-year marketing plan.
The city councilors, who are elected for four-year terms (the mayor for only two), said they simply wanted to go to annual agreements. Politically, we suppose that’s a reason.
In our marketing experience – and it is our business – we know that one-year agreements and multiple agencies are not the best way to achieve the overall goal: bringing more visitors to the community.
What’s at stake in dollars? The chamber was receiving just one-quarter of the 6 percent tax collected on motels and RV parks (the Elks Lodge and Harris Beach State Park) in the city limits. Last year, that funded just over half of the chamber’s overall promotion efforts outside the community.
Donations from other motels and RV parks in Harbor made up the difference in the chamber’s marketing effort.
From our perspective, the city councilors need to enjoy this weekend’s Azalea Festival, and reconsider their one-year-or-nothing ultimatum.