We’ve heard little discussion regarding Gardner and the chamber’s plans to create a Convention & Visitors Bureau.
We don’t recall a survey; we don’t recall seeing a written proposal or consultant’s plan; or an actual chamber budget. Public tax funds = public budget.
We aren’t opposed to a CVB; we’re just saying, exactly what are we talking about here? A building? A staff? A community outreach?
We already have a Chamber of Commerce and Southwest Johnson County Economic Development Corporation; and staff members who work economic development.
And now we need a CVB?
Since it is the Gardner Edgerton Chamber, are Gardner taxpayers subsidizing Edgerton, or will Edgerton be asked to pay, too? We wonder if that was even considered — Edgerton recently formed their own economic development group – Elevate Edgerton.
But according to Gardner’s proposed budget discussed July 15, “Due to the expected 2018 opening of Hampton Inn, projections for transient guest tax revenue significantly increase beginning in 2019. Consequently, in 2019 the chamber plans to form a Convention & Visitors Bureau (CVB) with the assistance of $300,000 city funding over FY 2019-2020.
Additional $205,000 city funding is planned for Southwest Johnson County EDC (SWEDC) over the 3-year period FY 2018-2020.
“As transient guest tax revenues increase, future transient guest tax revenue allocation is targeted for 50 percent CVB, 25 percent SWEDC, 10-15 percent for the Small Business Assistance Program, and remaining allocations determined as revenue allows. Formation of CVB and increased 2019-2020 funding of the Gardner Historical Museum supports the Strategic Plan objective to “encourage tourism,” and increased funding to SWEDC supports the strategic goal to “promote economic development.”
But with no discussion or details, it appears we’re spending money for blue sky; and money we don’t even have yet.
Take a business plan to your bank; tell them you think you are going to get some money; and it is burning a hole in your hand; and you want to spend it.
See what you walk out with.
In addition to the CVB, there’s also placeholders to “promote economic development.” The budget contains $37,500 placeholders in both 2019-2020 to support planning and due diligence for the development of an entrepreneurial ecosystem.
Sounds pretty fancy.
We’d like to see the nuts and bolts of what it is and does.
Maybe a few specifics of what our $37,500 is being used for? For some young families, that’s an annual wage. So how about just letting taxpayers keep their own money and develop their own entrepreneurial ecosystem?
Why does government always have their hand out?
Gardner had to pass sales taxes for road repair and to fix potholes and a justice center; okay, we were told there was no money, but now apparently council is investing in some “blue sky” projects with nary a bat of an eye; spending money we don’t have yet for projects that have not been publicly debated and have no written plans attached.
Shame on Gardner’s elected officials for starry-eyed visions that cost taxpayers money.
Total Gardner assessed valuation increased more than eight percent, and the proposed increase of .196mills costs the owner of a $220,000 home about $5 annually.
May not sound like much alone, but that will come on top of a personal property tax increase (assessed valuation) and utility increases.
It’s our $5; let us keep it.
Or build the community center residents keep requesting.