Friday, January 11, 2013

Marketing Alliance requests contract changes

2013 agreement with Sun Valley remains unsigned


By BRENNAN REGO
Express Staff Writer

More than a full quarter into the fiscal year, the city of Sun Valley and the Sun Valley Marketing Alliance are still playing what Mayor Dewayne Briscoe has referred to as “ping pong” concerning a contract between the two entities.

The latest round of back-and-forth negotiations has the Marketing Alliance requesting changes to a version of the fiscal 2013 contract reluctantly approved by the City Council on Dec. 6 after several months of requested changes. The Marketing Alliance is now requesting that the council allow it to not list the website addresses of nonmember businesses on its website. In December, the council had requested that the Marketing Alliance list the web addresses of all valley businesses, but agreed that the addresses of nonmember businesses need not be hyperlinked.

At a City Council meeting Thursday, Jan. 3, Marketing Alliance President Arlene Schieven said many web browsers automatically hyperlink website addresses, and that the council’s request was interfering with the organization’s membership drive.

“It’s unfair to our member businesses for other businesses to have their websites listed, even if they’re not hyperlinked,” she said.

Schieven suggested amending the contract to allow the Marketing Alliance not to list nonmember businesses’ website addresses.

Councilman Nils Ribi contended that for the sake of the valley’s visitors, all the businesses’ websites should be listed, but nonmembers shouldn’t be hyperlinked, as previously agreed.

“When I go somewhere, I want to know where all the businesses and restaurants are,” he said.

Councilwoman Michelle Griffith, Councilman Bob Youngman and Councilman Franz Suhadolnik said they would be OK with the contract change, but wanted to see a copy of the new contract before voting on it. The council is expected to approve the contract during its next regular meeting Feb. 7.

Negotiations over the contract began Aug. 16, when the council voted 3-1 to reduce its fiscal 2013 contribution to the Marketing Alliance from $356,000 to $250,000. Griffith voted no.

Since then, Youngman has requested amendments to the contract that require the organization to release detailed employee salary info to the council and to provide more concrete financial data that demonstrate how the organization’s efforts to promote the valley outside of Blaine County directly benefit the city. Youngman has also said the organization should not rely as much on public funds, but should instead rely more on membership dues and other sources of funding. For 2013, dues from 247 members comprise just $85,000 of the organization’s $1.1 million budget.

Ketchum Mayor Randy Hall said at a Ketchum City Council meeting Monday that the decision to list or not list nonmember websites should be left to the Marketing Alliance. Ketchum has pledged $481,000 to the organization for fiscal 2013. The organization also receives $215,000 from the Idaho Travel Council. This year only, Sun Valley Co. has pledged $25,000 to the to help offset the city of Sun Valley’s reduction. Other 2013-only revenue is $75,000 from the Ride Sun Valley Bike Festival.

To view the Marketing Alliance website, visit www.visitsunvalley.com.


Brennan Rego: brego@mtexpress.com

 




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