Depoe Bay Goes To Washington – Endless Parking Discussions – Questioning Viability of Chamber of Commerce
Depoe Bay City Council had a long one Tuesday night – skipping around city issues like hop-scotchers.
…on their upcoming lobbying trip to Washington DC
Right off the top, they continued to grapple with how to organize an upcoming lobbying trip to Washington DC where they will seek possibly millions of dollars in financial aid from the Congress for city sewer and water upgrades, storm drain improvements, more comprehensive harbor dredging, dam repair and possibly fixing the seawall. They’re still working on the list.
…on parking for tourists around town/buying harbor property
The council also went round and round on how to improve Depoe Bay’s city-wide parking situation. Not enough parking downtown. Not enough south of the bridge. Not enough around the harbor. When a suggestion was made to buy a small piece of property on the harbor, near the fish plant, the room temperature rose. Councilor Zeke Olsen said its a small but very valuable piece of property that could someday produce income to the city – if only wringing out some parking fees for what he called ‘trailer sailors’ who leave their boat trailers scattered about. An obviously displeased Councilor Jerome Grant said “Why should we create more parking for fishermen who don’t add to the local economy while ignoring the parking needs of tourists downtown who do!??” Olsen shot back that having the small parcel under city control could be made to produce cash for city hall if it’s used to charge fees and have those fees collected with the trailer sailors show up.
Grant adamantly told his fellow councilors that parking is in critically short supply and that there are several parking areas uphill from the downtown that the city could either acquire or lease, producing immediate benefits to the town in terms of attracting more shoppers.
The council ended up offering to buy the harbor property anyway while also agreeing with Grant that the city council needs to re-examine the city’s parking situation and do something about it. And they’ll talk about it soon.
…Chamber of Commerce contract renewed to handle Depoe Bay tourism promotion
After some tough questioning of Depoe Bay Chamber of Commerce Secretary Bea Ray the council awarded the Chamber it’s annual $4,999 tourism advertising contract for the city for the upcoming fiscal year. It’s a dollar less than $5,000 because at $5,000 the council has to go out to bid on the contract.
But during the discussions, there were many comments between Councilors Steve Sparks and Zeke Olsen that they didn’t think the Chamber was as effective an organization as it might be. Ray reminded the council that the Chamber is an all volunteer group and that they’re always open to suggestions about how to do a better job. Ray outlined what appeared to be a straight-forward promotion program using tried and true marketing techniques and multi-leveled advertising outlets, with several money saving ideas for the next tourism season.
But Sparks and Olsen weren’t convinced. Sparks said that all volunteer non-profits such at the Depoe Bay Chamber of a thing of the past. They don’t have the consistent organizational prowess or manpower to be fully effective – something Depoe Bay needs. He said he would like to have a joint meeting between the Depoe Bay City Council and the Chamber of Commerce Board to explore ways to enhance the Chamber’s effectiveness. He wants to see a full audit the Chamber’s budget, income, expenditures, and how they get things done. Councilor Olsen chimed in saying that the Chamber could be advertising and promoting the town a lot more effectively using internet based platforms. And he echoed Sparks’ desire to meet with the Chamber Board for a brainstorming session.
Ray said she would take the message back to her board for their consideration and thanked them for putting the confidence in the Chamber’s request to handle Depoe Bay’s tourism promotion duties for another year.
…upgrading city administrative software
Councilors were told that after a competitive bidding process among a number of software providers, City Recorder Pery Murray said she’d like the council to purchase software from The Vision Company for $55,000 which includes two hand-held utility meter reading devices and a little more per year for the maintenance agreement. The council went along with the request and told Murray to sign ’em up.
…is Depoe Bay running it’s urban renewal district correctly?
And finally, councilor Jerome Grant raised the question of whether the City of Depoe Bay is properly running its urban renewal agency. Grant said he met an urban renewal agency consultant that he thinks could run a workshop for the council to do an assessment on how urban renewal is helping the city – or how to better help the city. The council said the idea sounded interesting but that it would have to wait until the next city council meeting because it was not officially placed on Tuesday evening’s agenda. So they’ll talk about it next time.