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Cuts in chamber donations expected

Geraldine Haldner

Vail town leaders are trying to cut $1 million out of next year’s budget, and there is little room for congeniality.At least two Town Council members have said they are done giving money to area business organizations without clearly defined working orders and tangible results.”I would like to see us completely out of funding these agencies – other than for contract services,” says Councilman Dick Cleveland.”This will never end up happening unless we get out to this beauty contest judging,” adds fellow-councilman Greg Moffet of the rivaling requests from the valley-wide Vail Valley Chamber & Tourism Bureau, or VVCTB, and the Vail-only Vail Chamber & Business Association, or VCBA.The VVCTB, which has been awarded the town’s information booths contract for $199,500 two weeks ago, is asking the town for $40,000 while the VCBA, for the third time since its inception, is asking for $346,000, to be funded with receipts from the business license feesVail Town Manager Bob McLaurin, who has been instructed by the council to cut $1 million out of the town’s expense budget, recommended giving the VVCTB $25,000 – the same contribution as other towns give them – and slashing the VCBA’s request by roughly half, to $180,000.Additionally, McLaurin says the contribution line-up will show how committed the council is to cutting $1 million out of Vail’s $36 million budget for 2003.”It’ll be symbolic of how serious they are about cutting,” he says.Moffet and Cleveland appear determined to cut even deeper; Ogilby and Jewitt, however, suggest taking a less severe approach.”You are going to get Miss Congeniality,” Moffet says of Ogilby’s suggestions.”I think we are reaping the benefit in services,” Moffet adds.Cleveland and Moffet both say they weren’t trying to kill the VCBA, but instead trying to send a strong message that nothing in the town of Vail is free anymore.”I don’t think it would be in our best interest to kill it,” Cleveland says, agreeing with Councilwoman Diana Donovan that this year’s contribution should be the last.”We have to give a very clear direction that this is it – and that we mean it,” Donovan says.Kaye Ferry, president of the VCBA, says here organization will make due with $250,000 for 2003.”Not every service we provide is tangible, but they do help this town,” she says.The contribution to marketing entities are expected to be finalized Oct. 8.Geraldine Haldner covers Vail, Minturn and Red Cliff. She can be reached at 949-0555, ext. 602, or at ghaldner@vaildaily.com.


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