Revenue Diversification Community Conversations

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Posting on behalf of Kim Rosenberg

Revenue Diversification Community Conversations

At the end of the Special Session Council Meeting on November 8, council discussed how best to engage and prepare the community for different strategies of revenue diversification.

Councilor Spegman spoke a little about the work he and Council President Kozlowski have been doing to start the ball rolling by meeting with what Spegman called a focus group. The mayor and a few folks in the audience had questions about the formation of the group, how people were chosen and who was asked to participate. The group is not an ad hoc committee or a committee of any kind.

I emailed Councilor Spegman to get some answers. When I don’t know the facts about something it’s easy for me to build a story that backs up whatever my perceptions are. Sometimes those are misperceptions. In a vacuum without facts, that’s exactly how conspiracy theories arise.

Jerry Spegman was appointed by a consensus of the last council to take the lead on revenue diversification. Linda Kozlowski took the lead as Council President on the “Conversations With Councilors” community discussions. The first topic of those conversations was city hall, the second was short term rentals. The mayor was asked to participate in these meetings with her colleagues but chose not to, which explains why she didn’t know about this.

After the conversations about short term rentals, Councilor Kozlowski suggested that revenue diversification should be the next topic.

In his email to me Spegman wrote, “it seemed like a no brainer, except more complex than str’s because it involved multiple strategies with overlapping timelines and different approval and enforcement mechanisms.
“We immediately realized that we needed to roll out these conversations sequentially, over an extended timeframe, and with more aggressive outreach to gain public buy-in (or not), given how difficult it can be to raise taxes/fees
“In order to design the conversations properly, we agreed to consult on the front end with a mix of community members – I may be missing someone, but I believe the list is Brian Postle, Judy Suggs, Sue McGrath, Deb Galardi, Connie Burton, Doug Sparks, John Gufstufson, Brad Hart (out now), Joy Nord, and Gerald Wineinger.
“…I see this group as sort of a planning committee to get the conversations right, and somewhat akin to the focus group Linda and I practiced our city hall conversation with at the Cottages up on Classic.”

So, it’s not a standing, policy-setting committee requiring applications and appointments. City Manager Aman called it a “stakeholder’s group” with two councilors collaborating to tap into a range of community insights about how best to engage the community on revenue diversification.

When I looked at the list of community members who were tapped, I see a broad cross section of people with a variety of perspectives. Two of those folks won’t be part of the group—Brad Hart, who is now on council, and Gerald Wineinger, who sadly passed away. I trust Councilors Spegman and Kozlowski to choose whether or not, they need to fill those spots.

Any of the strategies for revenue diversification will mean some change for members of the community, but it will also mean mo’ money from mo’ sources and less dependence on short term vacation rentals. That’s a good thing.

Kim Rosenberg