City Council denies funding for tourism bureau

Carbondale City Council voted to deny a resolution to disburse $267,500 to the Carbondale Convention and Tourism Bureau and approved the disbursement of more than $240,000 to other civic organizations during its regular meeting Tuesday.

In a 6-1 vote, with Councilwoman Corene McDaniel dissenting, the council voted to allow the money in its fiscal year 2013 budget that had been set aside for the bureau to be used by other agencies.

Councilman Chris Wissmann made the motion to deny the resolution and to let other organizations submit requests for proposals for the portions of the services currently being provided by the bureau.

Carbondale City Council member Corene McDaniel voices her opinion Tuesday during the City Council meeting at the Carbondale Civic Center. The council discussed issues regarding funding for the Carbondale Convention and Tourism Bureau. McDaniel said she would vote to approve CCTB’s contract so the bureau could have a year to meet the Council’s requirements for the organization. The motion passed 6-1 to deny funding to CCTB. –Sarah Gardner | Daily Egyptian

Wissmann said the requests for proposals could be as broad or specific as needed, and the council could accept as many as necessary.

McDaniel disagreed sharply with the motion to deny funding to the bureau.

She said on several occasions, council members had worked until 11 p.m. submitting suggestions to the city manager about what they wanted the bureau to accomplish.

McDaniel said since February, the bureau came under close scrutiny by council members because the bureau’s director, Debbie Moore, had helped write grant proposals for a tourism office where her daughter worked. The bureau also came under scrutiny because of a lack of a functional website. The plan the council members worked on was to outline what they expected of the bureau and to give it an opportunity to make improvements.

“I think this is appalling, and I would like the council to reconsider,” she said during the discussion period.

Councilman Don Monty said he had heard more comments from citizens on this issue than on any other, and almost all of the comments were against funding the bureau.

McDaniel said she also heard negative comments about the bureau, but in many cases, the only time people mobilize is when they are against an issue.

She said she hated to see the council move in such a drastic manner, and other agencies already had requests for proposals ready, since they were anticipating the council’s move to deny funding.

“I feel like this was the plan all along,”

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