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Victoria Ad Federation objects to out-of-town spending

By DAVID TEWES
Nov. 16, 2010 at 5:16 a.m.


ALSO...The city council also awarded a contract to Union Labor Life Insurance Co./Fidelity Security of Silver Spring, Md., for its stop-loss insurance.

The city's premiums for the stop-loss insurance will increase from $20.69 to $23.56 per employee per month.

Monthly premiums will increase from $56.60 to $64.99 for dependents, no matter the number of dependents.

There will be no premium increases for the city workers or their dependents.

A group of business people said Tuesday they don't believe the Victoria Chamber of Commerce is following its own advice about shopping locally.

The American Advertising Federation of Victoria presented a letter on behalf of its constituents to the city council expressing its displeasure.

The letter states the city, chamber and Convention and Visitors Bureau should make every effort to spend locally as much of the $750,000 in motel tax it gets from the city. That money is to be used to market Victoria.

Ben Price, the federation's secretary, was accompanied by other federation members as he read the letter to the council. He said the group's research shows that only a small number of businesses have gotten contracts from the bureau.

He estimated less than $10,000 was spent locally by the bureau.

"It's not our intention to make waves," Price said after the meeting. "It's our intention to bring light to something that is concerning."

But Executive Director Bridgette Bise with the Convention and Visitors Bureau - contacted later - said there is another side to the story.

"I have used other advertising sources here in town, and I do," she said. "So the facts are not correct."

But Bise said there have been cases where she was not able to use local businesses.

"The quality of the work just isn't up to par for what we need to be able to produce to be able to advertise to visitors," she said. "What I do always is put on my visitor hat, and I do whatever is the best thing to do for Victoria to bring the visitors here."

Bise said the bureau's marketing effort has earned four first place awards and a second place award. She said that speaks for the quality of work it does.

But the ad federation letter presented to the city council states its members and constituents believe there are many qualified advertising and marketing professionals in Victoria.

They contribute directly to the growth and prosperity of the local economy, according to the letter.

"The concept 'shop local' is now more important than ever," the letter states. "We strongly urge the council to make every effort to keep the tax revenue brought into this city by out-of-town travelers, working within the local economy."

Price said while the city council doesn't control the chamber, it does control the purse strings.

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