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Fri, Dec. 13

Commission agrees to shed duties, not funding
City economic development groups meet

KINGMAN - Officials from the Economic Tourism and Development Commission have agreed to give up some of their official responsibilities to the recently formed Economic Development and Marketing Commission, but conflicts over funding remain unresolved.

In a meeting at City Hall Wednesday, commissioners from both ETDC and EDMC agreed to support a Council resolution to amend the ETDC ordinance in order to remove certain responsibilities pertaining to economic development.

The amendment would also shorten ETDC's name to the Tourism Development Commission.

The removed responsibilities will then fall solely to the EDMC, including "fostering and expansion of existing business, industrial and commercial enterprises," "establishment of civic and economic climate that will encourage the expansion of existing business and attract new business within the city limits" and "establishment of a source of data pertaining to industrial (or) commercial ... development."

The committees also agreed that promoting tourism and establishing tourism development data will continue to fall to ETDC.

There was less agreement, however, over whether ETDC should continue to receive 2 percent of the city's hotel tax as its primary funding source.

ETDC commissioner Tom Spear argued that the hotel tax should continue to go to tourism, since tourists are the primary source of hotel revenues, but EDMC chairwoman Christine Cerny countered that, as her commission brings new businesses to town, prospective employees will also make use of Kingman's hotels. With such an aggressive agenda, Cerny said, her group needed some kind of funding, whether it comes from the ETDC's budget or from some new source.

ETDC chairwoman Krystal Burge noted that, while ETDC had committed some money to aid economic development entities in the past - such as the Kingman Airport Authority and Industrial Park - it had never before dedicated itself to actually courting new businesses to come to town, which is one of the EDMC's top priorities.

Such a goal, she said, would require far more money than the roughly $276,000 in annual hotel tax revenues the EDTC receives, and she suggested the EDMC would be better served by trying to secure outside funding sources, such as grants.

"The funding is going to be much more important from outside sources to help us produce the results that you're asking to produce," Burge told Cerny.

"Obviously, it's not in any way funds that we have available at this moment."

Currently, any funds EDMC wishes to spend must first be cleared through the City Council and come out of the city's contingency fund. The commission will be granted its own line item on the next fiscal year's city budget, however, it will remain up to the Council to decide how to fund the new commission, if it can at all.

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