Urbana decision on tourism funding delayed again

Urbana decision on tourism funding delayed again

URBANA -- A city council decision on how much money tourism promotion is worth to the city was delayed again Monday when an alderman asked the council to reconsider the bigger picture in what has become a recurring issue.

Brandon Bowersox, D-Ward 4, said city officials first need to figure out how to hold the Champaign County Convention and Visitors Bureau accountable and determine the return on the money they invest in the agency.

"It seems like just writing a check and sending our money does not solve the bigger issues," Bowersox said.

The council on Monday was scheduled to consider $18,800 in funding, which had been determined to be somewhat of a compromise after Mayor Laurel Prussing this summer vetoed $72,000 in financial support for the bureau. But with two council members absent, it was clear early in the meeting that there would not be the six required votes to pass the budget amendment.

The council will next consider the funding informally as the committee of the whole, and Bowersox said it should figure out what data exactly the city wants from the CVB.

"I think we really missed all of the other important questions," Bowersox said. "Writing a check to the CVB is just one piece of the puzzle."

For CVB president Jayne DeLuce, it seems to have become a communication issue. She had not heard of Bowersox's motion before he introduced it to the council.

"The hard part right now is figuring out how to continue this relationship when this keeps getting delayed," DeLuce said.

DeLuce suggested last week that she and the city should meet informally to discuss the funding issue and, on Monday night, said "we welcome the dialogue when they're ready to have it."

Champaign County is growing and has a lot to offer, she said, and the funding cut has put significant budget constraints on her agency's efforts to highlight it.

"We want to continue those efforts, but everyone has to be at the table," she said.

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read the DI wrote on October 04, 2011 at 8:10 am

I can see why DeLuce is trying to save her job, and I don't have a problem with that. If I were in her spot, I'd probably do the same thing.

But she must be careful not to run afoul of the open meetings laws. Meeting "informally" often means meeting "illegally."

No blood for tourism! No blood for tourism!