Aldermen voted unanimously in favor of a one-year contract extension with the Macomb Area Convention and Visitors Bureau. The new pact runs through August 1, 2016 and contains the same provisions as the city's current agreement with the CVB.
The city will continue to pay the CVB $184,000 -- money that comes from the city’s hotel-motel bed tax.
City Administrator Dean Torreson proposed ending the city’s relationship with the bureau and bringing tourism under the direction of City Hall. He felt Macomb could save money and get better production out of Downtown Development Director Andrea Keene.
But Fifth Ward Alderman Clay Hinderliter made the motion to continue the arrangement with the CVB. He told reporters the city simply has too much on its plate right now, including the search for Torreson’s replacement -- he will retire at the end of 2015 – so the best course of action was to extend the contract.
“I felt that’s what we had to do. And talking with the other aldermen, they pretty much felt that was the way we needed to go too,” Hinderliter said.
CVB supporters filled the City Council chambers the last couple weeks to express their support for the organization, and were criticized for it by Fourth Ward Alderman Tom Koch.
“On the part of CVB, there seemed to be an intimidation by numbers attending the meetings. This is kind of an example tonight because the numbers are markedly increased over a normal committee meeting,” Koch said. He went on to accuse CVB supporters of spreading lies about Keene.
“There was attacks made on Andrea Keene, with innuendos and untruths, and those attacks still seem to be going on,” Koch said.
“Shame on you all!”
Aldermen At Large Don Wynn and Dennis Moon thanked people for contacting them about the CVB issue.
“I am pleased to see participation by the public of Macomb and would encourage more of it,” said Moon.
“It’s nice to see a full gallery. I would encourage more people to get involved.”
Mayor Mike Inman concurred with Moon and Wynn.
“I appreciate the fact that so many folks have attended our council meetings the last couple of weeks. I think it’s absolutely essential to us as your elected officials to come and tell us how you feel, write and tell us how you feel, stop us in the market and tell us how you feel. And I would do everything to encourage that,” said Inman.
First Ward Alderman Mike Wayland will serve as the city’s non-voting member on the CVB’s Board of Directors.