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Author Topic: Diverting CVB funds to retail recruitment  (Read 1688 times)
sgrizzle
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« on: June 16, 2010, 08:28:58 am »

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Councilor seeks hotel-motel tax funds for Tulsa retail recruitment

Councilor Bill Christiansen
Councilor Bill Christiansen

By BRIAN BARBER World Staff Writer
Published: 6/15/2010  11:05 PM
Last Modified: 6/15/2010  11:05 PM

City Councilor Bill Christiansen is proposing the use of $100,000 that typically would go to the Tulsa Convention & Visitors Bureau to instead fund efforts to recruit retail businesses to Tulsa.

Through the city’s Economic Development Commission, the Convention & Visitors Bureau is expected to get $1.87 million generated by the hotel-motel tax in the next fiscal year.

Christiansen wants the $100,000 shaved off that amount and is preparing a budget amendment to that effect to be voted on at the council’s 6 p.m. Thursday meeting.

“I think the CVB does a really good job, … but we need to target this money elsewhere,” he said during a council committee meeting Tuesday.

“It’s a small amount for us to take to be assured that Tulsa will have a full-time person attracting the retail business we so desperately want.”

The Convention & Visitors Bureau is a division of the Tulsa Metro Chamber.

Chamber President and CEO Mike Neal said Christiansen’s proposal is “fiscally irresponsible and shortsighted” because it would mean investing less money in one of Tulsa’s fastest-growing economic sectors.

“The city of Tulsa has invested millions of dollars in building the BOK Center and rehabbing the Tulsa Convention Center,” he said.

“The Doubletree Hotel Downtown and the Crowne Plaza have also invested millions of dollars to modernize (their) properties. Three new hotels have opened downtown and many more across the city.”

Now is not the time to take money produced by the city’s hotels and motels and use it for purposes that do not return the
investment to the hospitality industry, Neal said.

In this fiscal year, the VisitTulsa program booked more than 90,000 future hotel room nights and secured $162 million in future economic impact, he said.

“Remove $100,000 of the investment generated by the hotels and motels to market the city and count on a reduction of approximately $9 million in economic impact,” Neal said.

But Christiansen said the city has benefited before by putting money toward retail. Case in point: the now successful Tulsa Hills shopping area.

The funding that the city formerly allocated for retail development eventually dried up through budget cuts, Christiansen said.

The $100,000 for the upcoming fiscal year would be used to pay for a specialist who, working through the Economic Development Commission, would focus on enhancing and promoting retail development in the city as well as funding data collection, research, marketing, professional outreach and associated travel costs.

The Tulsa Metro Chamber “admits they don’t do this right now,” Christiansen said.

“It’s not their calling. And I think we’re missing the boat.”

There was recently a conference in Las Vegas where cities went to attract new retail development, he said. Several of Tulsa’s suburban neighbors were represented, but the city was not.

Councilor G.T. Bynum praised Christiansen’s proposal, saying outlying communities “run laps around us when it comes to retail development.”

Councilor Roscoe Turner said he’s all for taking money from the chamber because of its “regional attitude.”
Read more from this Tulsa World article at http://www.tulsaworld.com/news/article.aspx?subjectid=16&articleid=20100615_11_0_CityCo724393
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TeeDub
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« Reply #1 on: June 16, 2010, 08:35:14 am »


Didn't his son just graduate from college?

I guess $100,000 to go traveling around the country is a pittance when you figure the number of people out of work.



"The $100,000 for the upcoming fiscal year would be used to pay for a specialist who, working through the Economic Development Commission, would focus on enhancing and promoting retail development in the city as well as funding data collection, research, marketing, professional outreach and associated travel costs."
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« Reply #2 on: June 16, 2010, 08:42:20 am »

I'd rather see this money spent on supporting local businesses.  Tulsa has plenty of national chains as it is, the locally-owned and operated businesses contribute far more to our economy than ones based elsewhere. 
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« Reply #3 on: June 16, 2010, 09:08:39 am »

Christiansen's a moron.  The CVB is already down by at least a 3rd in personnel since the downturn began and their budget's been cut to the bone.  Trust me when I tell you, they have neither the manpower nor the cash to support the city.  A lot of the success you're seeing now is the result of work that began years back, when the city was supporting the CVB much more. 

Why not take that $100k from somewhere else?  Why does it have to come out of the hotel/motel tax?  Or does it just seem like it's money just sitting there, waiting to be raided? 
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Conan71
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« Reply #4 on: June 16, 2010, 09:25:11 am »

"In this fiscal year, the VisitTulsa program booked more than 90,000 future hotel room nights and secured $162 million in future economic impact, he (Neal) said."

“Remove $100,000 of the investment generated by the hotels and motels to market the city and count on a reduction of approximately $9 million in economic impact,” Neal said."

Where on earth does the Chamber keep getting these wild, un-substantiated figures from?Huh

I want a job like that, sit around, manipulate data, and collect easy money.  And people wonder why the Chamber has a credibility problem with most Tulsans?  My Algebra teacher always said: "Show your work".  I'd love to see the formulae used to come up with these conclusions.  So, MTCC, show your work if you want less cynicism.

SXSW- I try to support local business at every turn, especially restaurants.  Playing Devil's advocate for a moment on restaurants: national chains employ local employees, can offer growth and benefits local restaurateurs can seldom offer, they offer somewhat more long-term stability, and many are in free-standing buildings paying significant property taxes as well as having larger seating capacities which serves to collect more sales tax.  Bonuses for managers are distributed here and most provisioning is done locally.  About the only thing which leaves the area is the profits.  Many of the national chains have more volume so their impact on the local economy is greater.

Obviously given the same sales volume, the local business will retain more money in the local economy (assuming the owner doesn't blow all their profits on vacations outside the area or owning a house in Crested Butte) as the profits stay here and hopefully might even be ploughed into more local businesses (i.e. McGill's or Greg and Tara Hughes' various restaurant ventures).

In terms of retail goods, it's pretty difficult these days for local retailers, other than specialty, to compete with big box stores.  They simply cannot bring in the kind of sales volume national chains can and they don't have the buying power or national marketing clout.  Again, I'm simply playing Devil's advocate, I always prefer local over national if I can find what I need from a local merchant and the price is not significantly higher than from other sources.

I think Mike Neal is over-reacting on losing $100K out of $1.87mm, but again, I think Christiansen is wrong in thinking that someone being paid to call on more retailers to come to the area is going to result in a sudden influx of more retail business.  Either you have the pops and demographics retailers are looking for or you don't.  Most chain retail has the Tulsa metro on it's map for the next growth phase if the kinds of retailers which were listed for the developments down near Jenks- which are on hold pending a better economy, actually materialize.

Going a little /topic, I'm curious what other's buying habits are these days.  For a number of years, I made a lot of purchases on-line, and now it's very, very rare that I ever do so.  The last couple of things I bought on-line were actually customer pick-up at Best Buy and a store pick up from Target on-line. I used to buy about 75% of my Xmas list gifts on line and it was less than 5% this year simply because Amazon was the only place I could find something I wanted to get without driving all over retail Hell at 71st & Memorial.  Is there becoming any sort of a drift back to people wanting to handle and look at goods before they pay? Feel free to chime in, just curious if I'm bucking a trend or if everyone is doing more physical shopping these days.
« Last Edit: June 16, 2010, 10:12:03 am by Conan71 » Logged

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« Reply #5 on: June 16, 2010, 09:59:46 am »

   Yes, I would much rather help more local businesses get started and going than bring in some other cities businesses.

Was reading an article about what cities are doing well and are projected to continue doing well, and one thing that most of them have in common is a high number of local start ups and a high sense of entrepreneurship and creativity.  What can we do to get more of that here? It also helps if more of those businesses are in "new economy" industries (guessing that means telecom, tech, applied sciences, materials sciences, renewable energy, medical, aviation, research, etc.) .    

  We need more job/wealth creation in this city, and not just low paying jobs at a sales counter that shifts wealth to other cities. 

If we had wealth creation/good jobs, people would move here and the stores would follow.  I think we are well down the path of making Tulsa an attractive city, amenity wise, for both urban and suburban dwellers.  People will at least want to live here now lol (though the school thing still needs work) but now we need to focus on growing jobs.
« Last Edit: June 16, 2010, 10:12:02 am by TheArtist » Logged

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« Reply #6 on: June 16, 2010, 10:06:20 am »

  Yes, I would much rather help more local businesses get started and going than bring in some other cities businesses.

Was reading an article about what cities are doing well and are projected to continue doing well, and one thing that most of them have in common is a high number of local start ups and a high sense of entrepreneurship and creativity.  What can we do to get more of that here? It also helps if more of those businesses are in "new economy" industries (guessing that means telecom, tech, applied sciences, materials sciences, renewable energy, medical, aviation, research, etc.) .    

Unfortunately, I don't think $100K would go very far in helping new business start-ups unless it's used to create a position which helps walk people through the process of permits, the legal maze, how to do location selection, options for financing, and having periodic seminars targeted at potential entrepreneurs.  Honestly, I think that's a function the Chamber should be serving now.  If they are, it'd be nice for the rest of us to know that.  They do exist to promote commerce, right?
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« Reply #7 on: June 16, 2010, 11:14:30 am »

Unfortunately, I don't think $100K would go very far in helping new business start-ups unless it's used to create a position which helps walk people through the process of permits, the legal maze, how to do location selection, options for financing, and having periodic seminars targeted at potential entrepreneurs.  Honestly, I think that's a function the Chamber should be serving now.  If they are, it'd be nice for the rest of us to know that.  They do exist to promote commerce, right?


Check out their small business page.   They do many of those things already.
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« Reply #8 on: June 16, 2010, 11:23:20 am »

Thanks Wev, some of it looks useful, some of it is fluff:

"The Small Business Center serves as an information resource for new and expanding businesses. The center works with partner affiliations to provide direct benefits to small and minority-owned businesses.

Additional Small Business Center resources free to Chamber members are available Monday through Friday, 9 a.m. to 4 p.m., by appointment:

Access to Dunn & Bradstreet listing of 50,000 businesses in an 11-county region of Northeast Oklahoma. Businesses are searchable by location, category, number of employees, annual sales, etc.
 
Computer workstations with Internet access and more than 40 direct links to sites assisting small business owners and entrepreneurs.
 
Comprehensive and targeted U.S. population demographic information.
 
Salary information of more than 5,800 business positions categorized by location, revenue and experience.
 
Step-by-step assistance for targeted business-to-business market research.
 
Referrals to various networking opportunities for proven business leads.
 
Professional and confidential business plan review and financial forecast development."
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« Reply #9 on: June 16, 2010, 12:35:39 pm »

Thanks Wev, some of it looks useful, some of it is fluff:

"The Small Business Center serves as an information resource for new and expanding businesses. The center works with partner affiliations to provide direct benefits to small and minority-owned businesses.

Additional Small Business Center resources free to Chamber members are available Monday through Friday, 9 a.m. to 4 p.m., by appointment:

Access to Dunn & Bradstreet listing of 50,000 businesses in an 11-county region of Northeast Oklahoma. Businesses are searchable by location, category, number of employees, annual sales, etc.
 
Computer workstations with Internet access and more than 40 direct links to sites assisting small business owners and entrepreneurs.
 
Comprehensive and targeted U.S. population demographic information.
 
Salary information of more than 5,800 business positions categorized by location, revenue and experience.
 
Step-by-step assistance for targeted business-to-business market research.
 
Referrals to various networking opportunities for proven business leads.
 
Professional and confidential business plan review and financial forecast development."


Yep, tis a bit o' fluff, though I suppose that's understandable.  It's in their interest to market the stuff as fluffily as possible, and if it's been part of their strategy it's worked.  That they keep winning awards amongst other US chambers by far justifies a good bit of puffery. 

I guess I'm going to end up being the Chamber booster in this thread because I see them work in the community, and the people I've met have cared about the job they do for Tulsa, even in the face of some pretty nasty, morale-killing odds.  Obviously the Chamber can always do more for all segments of the city's business community, and the hunger for help is overwhelming -- especially now -- but they are by and large competent people who work hard and passionately for the city.  And I have to think that the awards they get represents real recognition for work well done, as opposed to a useless bit of political back-slapping. 
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« Reply #10 on: June 16, 2010, 12:49:28 pm »

Wev, I find it interesting that their national peers recognize what is apparently a job well done, yet in their own market, they seem to have a PR problem which hinges between credibility (how much of what they take credit for are they actually responsible for?) and animosity (many of us being uneducated as to what they actually do and the image that it's an ivory tower for the priveleged few).

Some of my cynicism for the award stems from criteria for which I think it would be hard to quantify their involvement with (improvements in the local healthcare sytems or job growth from existing companies for example).  Often times, consideration for an award doesn't have near as much to do with what the claimed achievements are as much as how well written the entry is.  I'm trying to listen with open ears when you present information which contradicts my paradigms about the Chamber.  I'm simply surprised they don't seem to do a better job of improving their image amongst their critics.
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« Reply #11 on: June 16, 2010, 01:18:39 pm »

Wev, I find it interesting that their national peers recognize what is apparently a job well done, yet in their own market, they seem to have a PR problem which hinges between credibility (how much of what they take credit for are they actually responsible for?) and animosity (many of us being uneducated as to what they actually do and the image that it's an ivory tower for the priveleged few).

Some of my cynicism for the award stems from criteria for which I think it would be hard to quantify their involvement with (improvements in the local healthcare sytems or job growth from existing companies for example).  Often times, consideration for an award doesn't have near as much to do with what the claimed achievements are as much as how well written the entry is.  I'm trying to listen with open ears when you present information which contradicts my paradigms about the Chamber.  I'm simply surprised they don't seem to do a better job of improving their image amongst their critics.

I bet a lot of cynicism about the Chamber stems from the fact that it's very much an in-group, and has the trappings of exclusion rather than inclusion.  It's membership driven, and you pay dues to belong, and you attend luncheons and committee meetings in a suit and tie, if possible.  You hobnob.  There's a real sense that you're buying into a power structure, and take it from me -- as a guy who got into his line of work in his late 30's, after being a bartender, an actor, and a general layabout -- it feels on one level undemocratic.  It's like you're joining Tammany Hall or something.

When I joined, I was suspicious, but within its circle the Chamber works pretty well.  And while old perceptions die hard (and are sometimes still deserved), I do see the Chamber trying to make inroads in places it wouldn't traditionally go.  For instance, I'm a member of the Tulsa Hispanic Chamber and while there's no affiliation between them and the city, there's a growing partnership and sharing of resources that I see every time I visit the Hispanic Chamber offices.  There's an understanding at the Chamber that the hispanic community is growing and is an important part of our economy.  So a lot of Metro Chamber folks are very present and visible at Hispanic Chamber events. 

That's just an example, but it illustrates pretty clearly how the Metro Chamber actually does reach out, rather than just staying solely an old (white) boys' network as it very easily could. 
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Rico
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« Reply #12 on: June 18, 2010, 08:23:54 am »

Oh my..... I can't believe it.

A thread that will possibly turn Tulsa around.

Be right back. Wouldn't miss this for the World.

Thanks Sgrizzle. Cool
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« Reply #13 on: June 18, 2010, 09:42:43 am »

I read in the Tulsa World today that the Chamber just finished a major fund-raising campaign of almost $2.8mm and it was described as being about 25% of the total income of the Chamber.  I had no idea they brought in that much cash.  How many people work there?
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"It has been said that politics is the second oldest profession. I have learned that it bears a striking resemblance to the first” -Ronald Reagan
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