The Sun Valley City Council has renewed a contract for services with the Sun Valley Marketing Alliance, voting unanimously to give the organization $250,000 in fiscal 2013—$106,000 less than it did last year.
The council approved the contract at a meeting Thursday, Feb. 7, after several months of negotiations with the Marketing Alliance and more than four months past the Oct. 1 beginning of the fiscal year.
“We’ve been working on a month-to-month basis with the city [so far this fiscal year] and this just obviously formalizes our agreement,” Marketing Alliance President Arlene Schieven said in an interview after the meeting. “It’s good to have the contract in place.”
The main sticking point to the negotiations was whether the contract should require the Marketing Alliance to include hyperlinks to nonmember businesses’ websites on its online directory of local businesses. On Dec. 6, the council voted 3-1 to approve a version of the contract in which all business websites would be listed, but nonmembers’ websites would not be hyperlinked.
At a Jan. 3 council meeting, Schieven asked the council members if they would be willing to amend the approved contract to allow the organization to list only member websites. She said it is hard to control which websites are hyperlinked because some web browsers link website addresses automatically. She also said that listing all the websites, but only hyperlinking some of them, would result in an inconsistent experience for those who access the directory.
Councilman Nils Ribi opposed that change, but the others supported it. On Thursday, Ribi voted to approve the contract, saying he generally supports the Marketing Alliance’s efforts to market the area outside of Blaine County, but that some of the ways the organization does so “make no sense.”
“I’m just really, deeply concerned that an organization funded to provide tourists with local information is not providing visitors with that information,” he said.
Councilman Bob Youngman said that next year, the Marketing Alliance should present the contract to the council earlier. Schieven said that shouldn’t be a problem.
Sun Valley appoints new board representative
At a meeting Thursday, Feb. 7, the Sun Valley City Council appointed Chuck Rumpf to represent the city on the Sun Valley Marketing Alliance board. Rumpf is the business manager at Boulder Financial Alliance and will succeed former representative Brooke Wojcik, who resigned in late September. At that time, Wojcik cited “council decisions” and “personal reasons” as reasons for her resignation, which she submitted after the council voted in August to reduce the city’s support of the organization from $356,000 to $250,000 for fiscal 2013. Wojcik said the council members wanted a representative who would “bow and bend to their every whim.” She said that person “is not her.” Rumpf said his focus as the city’s representative will be to ensure that the Marketing Alliance board follows the council’s direction. Rumpf also said he will not resist the council’s leadership. “I’ll exercise common sense,” he said. “But if I have a question, I’ll ask the council for direction.”'
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